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He introduces the term in 1923 in connection with the castration complex, the traumatic perception being the sight of the female genitalia; when children first discover the absence of the penis in the girl, they "disavow the fact and believe that they do see a penis all the time."
Psychosis and Fetishism
"Splitting of the Ego"
In these clinical conditions, disavowal is always accompanied by the opposite attitude (acceptance of reality), since it is "rarely or perhaps never" possible for "the ego's detachment from reality to be carried through completely."
Repression and Foreclosure
While Freud's use of the term is quite consistent, he does not distinguish the term rigorously from the other related operations.
Whereas the term disavowal originally denotes, in Freud's work, only one side of this operation (the side of denial), for Lacan the term comes to denote both sides, the simultaneous denial and recognition of castration.
Lack and Desire
- Laplanche, Jean and Pontalis, Jean-Bertrand. The Language of Psycho-Analysis, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith, London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1973 . p. 118
- Freud, Sigmund.. "The Infantile Genital Organization", 1923e. SE XIX. pp. 143-4
- Freud, Sigmund. An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, 1940a. SE XXIII. p. 201