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Tatham, P. (1993). Samuels, A. (London). ‘Men under scrutiny’. Psychological Perspectives, 26, Spring/Summer, 1992, pp. 42-61.. J. Anal. Psychol., 38(3):356-357.

(1993). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 38(3):356-357

Samuels, A. (London). ‘Men under scrutiny’. Psychological Perspectives, 26, Spring/Summer, 1992, pp. 42-61.

Review by:
Peter Tatham

Samuels explores aspects of the men's movement with his usual verve and perspicacity, noting that men are, for the first time, ‘the problem’ - but with a distinct and dangerous difference, in that they are still ‘in the driving seat’ and, maybe, try to stay there.

First, revealing some of the workings of the men's group he himself runs in London, he then examines four overlapping ways in which men's problems have been described and faced. The experiential, operating in a humanistic, quasi-therapeutic style, offers men a chance of connecting to the ‘boy-child’ within, thus to develop a fresh style of manhood. But these new clothes may be merely persona changes - however valuable a beginning they may be. The socio-political division (with which he has great sympathy) is based upon the assumption that men are basically oppressive and sexist. Allying itself with feminism it advocates positive discrimination for women to an extent that Samuels sees as possibly ‘counter-phobic and over-determined’ at times.

The guts of the article is an important - because it is the first - psychological critique of the mythopoietic men's movement and the book Iron John (1990) in particular. He points out that its author, Robert Bly, stresses the cultural for men over the past forty years, but then ties his answer for our problems onto an ‘archaeological’ view of archetypal reality belonging to the 1950s and 1960s, which is, in Samuels's opinion, ‘out of date’.

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