Adoptee Ancestry Searches: The Intersubjective Space of Self-Integration


The adoptee’s ancestry search can function as a dynamic intersubjective space that is vital to self-integration in the psychoanalytic sense. The guiding theoretical question of this paper is: How can contemporary intersubjective psychoanalytic theories describe this intersubjective space? Intersubjective psychoanalytic theory has its roots in philosophical hermeneutics and phenomenology. A case of adoptee ancestry search is presented with the use of these combined theoretical frameworks, showing how new forms of reconsolidation and self-integration may occur as an effect of the search process of working through the adoptee’s states of “not knowing,” especially in the context of a closed adoption situation. This dynamic process of self-understanding is described in hermeneutic, phenomenological, and intersubjective terms, with the use of examples taken from her ancestry search. The function of third-party empathic witness and testimony is shown to lead to new gains in the adoptee’s reconsolidation of memories and her concurrent self-integration.

Author Information
Kate Mehuron, Eastern Michigan University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2024
Stream: Philosophy

This paper is part of the IICAH2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Mehuron K. (2024) Adoptee Ancestry Searches: The Intersubjective Space of Self-Integration ISSN: 2432-4604 – The IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities – Hawaii 2024 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon