CASTRATION COMPLEX: The early childhood fear of castration that Freud and Lacan both saw as an integral part of our psychosexual development. The castration complex is closely associated with the Oedipus complex, according to Freud: "the reaction to the threats against the child aimed at putting a stop to his early sexual activities and attributed to his father" (Introductory Lectures 15.208) . The young child with primitive desires, in coming face to face with the laws and conventions of society (including the prohibitions against incest and murder), will tend to align prohibition with castration (something that is sometimes reinforced by parents if they warn against, for example, masturbation by saying that the child will in some way be punished bodily, eg. by going blind). Lacan builds on this Freudian concept in defining the Law of the Father.
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