Mariama: Between Excision and Ghosts, the Difficulties of Being as a Woman

Regular Section “Subject, Subjectivities, and Practices of the Body in the Contemporary World”
By Mireille Guittonneau-Bertholet, Kirsten Ellerby

In this paper we demonstrate the need to consider, as a whole, the different elements that contribute to the gendered identity of a subject: phantasies, culture, and transgenerational stories. Sexual identity is a truly original construct, made of composite materials that each individual assembles in their own singular way. Thus, in Mariama’s story, in order to understand her questions about her sexual identity, it is necessary to articulate: her interpretation of the partial excision she underwent as a baby, and her infantile sexual phantasies explaining the differences of the sexes; in connection with her position as a child who, unconsciously, had to replace a brother who dies in infancy.
At the same time, in our methodological approach, we also consider the temporal aspect of the psychological moments that punctuate the psychological work in cases of trauma.


  • trauma
  • sexual identity
  • excision
  • psychic temporalities
  • transgenerational
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