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Bing, J.F. (1981). The Annual of Psychoanalysis. VI, 1978: Oedipus and America: Historical Perspectives on the Reception of Psychoanalysis in the United States. John Demos. Pp. 23-39.. Psychoanal Q., 50:450.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Annual of Psychoanalysis. VI, 1978: Oedipus and America: Historical Perspectives on the Reception of Psychoanalysis in the United States. John Demos. Pp. 23-39.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 50:450

The Annual of Psychoanalysis. VI, 1978: Oedipus and America: Historical Perspectives on the Reception of Psychoanalysis in the United States. John Demos. Pp. 23-39.

James F. Bing

Demos begins with a comment attributed to Freud by Jones, to the effect that America was a mistake. By this Freud meant that the nature of the acceptance of psychoanalysis in America was a mistake. The main thrust of this article is to show how various cultural and psychological factors laid the foundation for the eagerness with which psychoanalysis was received in America. Demos cites such phenomena as the cult of motherhood, a shift in attitudes toward child rearing based more on guilt than on shame, the declining birthrate, the sense of the exclusive responsibility among family members for one another, and the kind of oedipal rivalry between father and son that includes the expectation that the son will outdo his rival. Perhaps the most interesting of all the fascinating references in this article is one in which a Congregational minister is quoted as having said, "Let every Christian father and mother understand that when the child is three years old, they have done more than half of what they will do for his character." Such a quotation epitomizes the richness of the ambience for the success of psychoanalysis in America. On the other hand, the author does not overlook the tremendous resistances to the psychoanalytic movement.

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Article Citation

Bing, J.F. (1981). The Annual of Psychoanalysis. VI, 1978. Psychoanal. Q., 50:450

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