Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: You can access over 100 digitized books…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Did you know that currently we have more than 100 digitized books available for you to read? You can find them in the Books Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Freeman, T. (2008). Psychoanalytic Concepts of Fatherhood: Patriarchal Paradoxes and the Presence of an Absent Authority. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9:113-139.
  

Welcome to PEP Web!

Viewing the full text of this document requires a subscription to PEP Web.

If you are coming in from a university from a registered IP address or secure referral page you should not need to log in. Contact your university librarian in the event of problems.

If you have a personal subscription on your own account or through a Society or Institute please put your username and password in the box below. Any difficulties should be reported to your group administrator.

Username:
Password:

Can't remember your username and/or password? If you have forgotten your username and/or password please click here and log in to the PaDS database. Once there you need to fill in your email address (this must be the email address that PEP has on record for you) and click "Send." Your username and password will be sent to this email address within a few minutes. If this does not work for you please contact your group organizer.

OpenAthens or federation user? Login here.

Not already a subscriber? Order a subscription today.

(2008). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9(2):113-139

Psychoanalytic Concepts of Fatherhood: Patriarchal Paradoxes and the Presence of an Absent Authority

Tabitha Freeman, Ph.D.

This essay presents a critical examination of the patriarchal assumptions that have shaped psychoanalytic concepts of fatherhood since the inception of this discipline. Patriarchy is founded upon the symbolic power of the father and yet there has been a long-standing cultural silence shrouding men's parental roles and relationships in experiential terms. The subsequent tension between the symbolic presence and substantive absence of fathers is built into the heart of orthodox psychoanalytic theory, being enshrined in Freud's foundational concept of the Oedipus complex. In particular, the Oedipus complex is premised upon the father's absence from the pre-oedipal sphere, perpetuating an image of paternal authority legitimated by men's distance from, and difference to, the naturalized domain of mother-child relations. The simultaneous exaltation of paternal power and marginalization of fathers from the fabric of family life is reproduced across the central schools of psychoanalytic thought, as exemplified by the work of Klein and Lacan.

At the core of this discussion is a critical analysis of key sites of silence and contradiction in Freud's account of the Oedipus complex that are attributed to the negation of paternal intimacy in early infant relationships. Most notably, the oedipal resolution is seen to lie at the

- 113 -

source of deep psychological tensions within male and female gender identities that conform to patriarchal definitions of “normal” adult heterosexuality. In recent years, paternal absence has been problematized in theoretical, empirical, and political terms, with a weight of therapeutic observation, feminist critique, and cultural commentary beckoning a fundamental reassessment of psychoanalytic concepts of fatherhood. I argue that the corresponding turn toward more positive representations of father-child relationships signifies a radical critique of the paradoxes of patriarchy that has yet to be incorporated into psychoanalytic theory. By confronting the conceptual limits of the authority of the absent father, this discussion illuminates a theoretical vacuum within mainstream psychoanalytic thought in which to usher in more realistic conceptions of the fathering experience.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

Copyright © 2017, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.