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Kellond, J. (2015). Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives Edited by Petra Bueskens. Pp. 504. Bradford: Demeter Press, 2014, $44.95.. Free Associations, 16(2):64-70.

(2015). Free Associations, 16(2):64-70

Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives Edited by Petra Bueskens. Pp. 504. Bradford: Demeter Press, 2014, $44.95.

Review by:
Joanna Kellond

Making its intervention at the intersection of psychoanalysis, feminism and sociology, Petra Bueskens' edited collection, Mothering and Psychoanalysis, draws together research on the maternal from a wide range of disciplines, including clinical and theoretical psychoanalysis, sociology, feminist theory and cultural studies. Many, if not all, of the papers work across these categories and the collection foregrounds the mutual implication of these fields. In fact, Bueskens describes the book as an ‘impossibly eclectic … intersection of scholarly and clinical concerns’ (2), noting the inevitable tensions between a diverse set of contributions which draw on a wide range of thinkers: Winnicott, Fairbairn, Chodorow, and Benjamin jostle with the likes of Lacan, Mitchell and Butler.

The collection was inspired by a desire to synthesise the maternal turn in psychoanalytic theory (which the introduction helpfully sets out) with Arlie Hochschild's (2003) work on the commercialisation of care. With this in mind, the book comes together as a contribution to a feminist and sociological critique of the institution of therapy, in particular the ‘feminization’ (Philipson 1994) of therapy and of care. However, it also offers new visions of the maternal, which becomes central to the political imagination and social transformation. The 23 chapters - which include both reprints of seminal interventions in the field and previously unpublished contributions from an international group of scholars - are divided up into five interlinking sections, which work well thematically. In the interests of clarity, this review is organised in terms of these sections.

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