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Wimpfheimer, M.J. Kaufman, B. (1981). The Reproduction of Mothering. Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender: By Nancy Chodorow. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1978. 263 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 50:444-447.
   

(1981). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 50:444-447

The Reproduction of Mothering. Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender: By Nancy Chodorow. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1978. 263 pp.

Review by:
Miriam J. Wimpfheimer

Bonnie Kaufman

In The Reproduction of Mothering Nancy Chodorow presents a theory based on sociological and psychoanalytic ideas of how the psychological identity and social role of mothering gets passed on from mother to daughter through the generations. She examines the effects of this mothering tradition on the identities of men and women, on family structure, sexual relations, ideology about women, and on society at large. Rejecting arguments based on biology and cognitive-social role learning, Chodorow claims that women's psychological mothering is a feature of social structure and therefore requires an explanation in terms of social structure. Her methodology combines the psychoanalytic sociology of Parsons and the Frankfurt School with psychoanalytic object-relations theory. The argument favors primary parenting by men as well as by women, leading to freedom from rigid sexual identities and roles, a change that would give women a share of the power in society and men a chance to further develop their emotional capacities. Chodorow's ideas, though biased, are clever and broad-ranging, pointing to deep and subtle connections between personality and the outer world of the family and social structure. She invites those in the psychoanalytic field to focus on the "sociological and structural foundations of what they observe clinically."

In

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