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Róheim, G. (1941). After Freedom: By Hortense Powdermaker. New York: The Viking Press, 1939. 408 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 10:168.

(1941). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 10:168

After Freedom: By Hortense Powdermaker. New York: The Viking Press, 1939. 408 pp.

Review by:
Géza Róheim

This is a well written and interesting sociological description of a negro community in the deep South. In this community children are brought up in a family with a loose elastic structure, very often in a fatherless household. They seem to develop well in this environment because on the one hand there are no unwanted children and on the other there is little maternal overprotection as the mother has sufficient sexual outlet even when there is no resident male in the house. Adopted children are well treated. The fact that no discrimination is made against adopted children is reminiscent of the classificatory relationship system of primitive Australian tribes and the custom that all the 'mothers' give the nipple to each other's children equally. But there is a lot of conflict in the stepchild situation. 'One reason may be a suspicion that the new mate will be jealous of a stepchild as the concrete evidence of a former love relationship.' 'There may also be a reflection of the [other] child's resentment against the various intruders who usurp the real parent's affections' (p. 207).

Thought provoking discussions of other psychological aspects of life in this community make the book well worth reading on the whole.

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