I had the pleasure of reviewing the impressively thick book titled Mothering & Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives for the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative. It is edited by Petra Bueskens; a remarkable writer, researcher, and psychotherapist from Australia. It will be no surprise to maternal scholars that a book with such a promising title is published by Demeter Press, which is arguably the most important publisher in motherhood research.
I have been looking forward to this book. As a maternal scholar with special interest in psychoanalysis, this is not only of interest to me, but also extremely helpful to my ongoing project of getting an thorough overview of the complex layers of “the maternal” as a theoretical question and a research area. The intersection between psychoanalysis, feminism, and motherhood is wide. In my experience, it tends to get wider as you study it. So I must admit I have high expectations for this book’s explanatory potential, especially since the table of contents include names like Nancy Chodorow, Alison Stone and Lisa Baraitser, just to name a few.
It is reassuring to see the interdisciplinary approach already in the subtitle. As Bueskens describes in the introduction, it is an “impossibly eclectic book”, but make no mistake of associating the word eclectic with something negative. My experiences of studying motherhood in the clinical psychology world (and in psychoanalysis in particular) have repeatedly left me with a feeling of finding more corners and fewer openings. The topic in question seems to demand constant disciplinary transgressions, and it is my goal with this blog to dig deep into that disciplinary mess. I have yet to civilize my thoughts on this, but a teaser would sound something like this: in order to develop a solid psychology of motherhood, I see a (potentially harsh) break away from psychoanalysis, a tour through several disciplines (that I will not list just yet), and then a movement back to a new psychoanalysis of our time. I am sure I will be much better equipped to speak to this after reading my new 500 pages brick of concentrated wisdom.
Buy Journal of the Motherhood Initiative 6.1 with my review here.