views updated Jun 11 2018


The concept of organization belongs in several different scientific fields. It is used just as frequently in biological discourse as in sociology or psychology. The notion of organization is usually associated with that of development. Neurobiology thus describes the nervous organization of human beings going from the simplest to the most complex structures, each integrated in the other.

Freud used the notion of organization and associated it with the development of the libido. He proposed that the sexual life of human beings does not develop in one phase but gradually, through a series of successive phases or organizations. He wrote in Lecture 21 of Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1916-17a [1915-17]): "Normal sexuality has emerged out of something that was in existence before it, by weeding out certain features of that material as unserviceable and collecting together the rest in order to subordinate them to a new aim, that of reproduction" (p. 322). In the beginning infantile sexuality is characterized by relative anarchy and the absence of any real organization, with each of the component instincts striving independently of the others for satisfaction. The features of sexual organization take shape progressively, leading to a relatively stable libidinal structure, which is turn replaced in the course of development with what we call normal adult sexuality. Particularly in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905d), "The Disposition to Obsessional Neurosis" (1913i), and "The Infantile Genital Organization" (1923e), Freud described pregenital organizations and an adult genital organization. The first of the pregenital organizations leave it in the sadistic-anal organization, in which it is not the component genital tendencies that come to the fore but rather the sadistic and anal tendencies. From the point of view of psychopathology, obsessional neurosis represents a regressive form of this. On a more primitive level, and following Abraham's work, Freud described another pregenital organization in which the erogenous zone of the mouth plays the main role, an organization that is illustrated psychopathologically in the form of melancholy. In opposition to these infantile sexual organizations, genital organization is characterized by the fact that it is definitively constituted after puberty and all the component instincts are subordinated to the primacy of the genital organs and the goal of procreation.

Another line of development other than the erogenous zone must be taken into account in the constitution of libidinal organization: that of the relationship to the object. Freud did in fact describe this second line of development leading the little human being from an autoerotic phase (or organization) to a narcissistic phase and then to a phase of object discovery. Although they refer specifically to the psychoses in order to postulate the existence of a narcissistic organization, modern psychoanalytic studies, particularly those dealing with borderline and psychosomatic states, further enrich this notion by highlighting the defects in the constitution of primary narcissism and its object relations.

Claude Smadja

See also: Eroticism, anal; Eroticism, oral; Erotogenicity; Female sexuality; Instincts and Their Vicissitudes ; Libidinal development; Libido; Melancholia; Ontogenesis; Orality; Partial drive; Pregenital; Psychosexual development; Stage (or phase).


Freud, Sigmund. (1905d). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. SE, 7: 123-243.

. (1913i). The disposition to obsessional neurosis: A contribution to the problem of choice of neurosis. SE, 12: 311-326.

. (1923e). The infantile genital organization (an interpolation into the theory of sexuality). SE, 19: 141-145.

Green, André. (2001). Life narcissism, death narcissism (Andrew Weller, Trans.). London, New York: Free Association Books. (Original work published 1983)

Smadja, Claude. (1999). Le fonctionnement opératoire dans la pratique psychosomatique: LVIIIe Congrès des psychanalystes de langue française des pays romansà Lausanne. Revue française de psychanalyse, 63 (6).


views updated May 18 2018

or·gan·i·za·tion / ˌôrgəniˈzāshən/ • n. 1. the action of organizing something: the organization of conferences and seminars. ∎  the structure or arrangement of related or connected items: the spatial organization of the cells. ∎  an efficient and orderly approach to tasks: apparent disorder and lack of organization.2. an organized body of people with a particular purpose, esp. a business, society, association, etc.: a research organization.DERIVATIVES: or·gan·i·za·tion·al / -shənl/ adj.or·gan·i·za·tion·al·ly / -shən-lē/ adv.


views updated May 17 2018


views updated May 29 2018


A generic term for any type of group or association of individuals who are joined together either formally or legally.

The term organization includes a corporation, government, partnership, and any type of civil or political association of people.

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