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Hansell, J.H. (2001). Freudian Analysts/Feminist Issues. Judith Hughes. New Haven, CT/London: Yale Univ. Press, 1999. 222 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 70(2):502-506.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(2):502-506

Freudian Analysts/Feminist Issues. Judith Hughes. New Haven, CT/London: Yale Univ. Press, 1999. 222 pp.

Review by:
James H. Hansell

I began reading this book with great eagerness. Hughes, a professor of history at the University of California, San Diego, and a clinical associate at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute, assembled an interesting and unique cast of characters: Helene Deutsch, Erik Erikson, Carol Gilligan, Karen Horney, Robert Stoller, Nancy Chodorow, and Melanie Klein (in addition to a presentation of Hughes's own views). The organizing threads of the book, according to Hughes's introduction, are Freudianism and feminism, and I was interested to see what she would weave. When I finished the book, I had the feeling of having been on a grand tour, with occasionally memorable vistas, but under the direction of a somewhat quirky tour guide. The theorists visited in the book are all worth the trip, but the organizing framework Hughes offers somehow did not seem to represent “value added.” Rather, I experienced the text as an interesting, but loosely connected, review of the work of these important theorists.

Hughes proposes the concept of science as a selection process as the organizing framework for the book. It is not entirely clear to me what this means, though Hughes seems to use the phrase to describe her conceptual lens, which she focuses on theoretical lineages, transmissions, and evolutions. Accordingly, the subtitles of each chapter relate to evolutionary themes: “Retrogression” for Deutsch, “Epigenesis” for Erikson and Gilligan, Sexual Selection for Horney, Artificial Selection for Stoller and Chodorow, and Natural Selection for Klein's theories and the author's own.

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