Donald Winnicott – Transitional Phenomena.

Donald Winnicott, along with other psychologists such as John Bolby theorised that the transitional object and transitional phenomena that occur in a child’s life drastically affect their temperament in later life. This idea was something that I found particularly interesting and I would say it had an affect on the way I viewed my project. I have had an ongoing ‘obsession’ with documenting the urban environment, particularly the ways in which urban planners consciously influence how people move around the city. Therefore, the idea that transitional spaces may have an effect on the psyche of the cities inhabitants, I wanted to read about some of the theory surrounding this idea. This was to make my visual responses as informed as possible.

The Nature of the “In-Between” in D.W. Winnicott’s Concept of Transitional Space and in Martin Buber’s das Zwischenmenschliche – Laura Praglin

Text for Transitional Phenomena – Donald Winnicott

  • Influenced by Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein, but began to reject the reductive methods employed by Freud.
  • The in-between and transitional phenomena begins at infancy, and is something that develops over time and exists into adulthood.
  • “Winnicott’s transitional object, an illusion in itself, remains paradoxically for all persons “the basis of initiation of experience.” This intermediate area of experience, in which the transitional object shares, is retained throughout life, “in the intense experiencing that belongs to the arts and to religion and to imaginative living, and to creative scientific work.”13 Winnicott’s “in-between” world does not possess the vacillating It/Thou qualities to the same degree that Buber’s does, and remains a more stable and enduring concept, available to draw upon for the rest of our lives.” (Laura Praglin, 2006)


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