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Notman, M.T. (1993). Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory: By Nancy Chodorow. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1989, 286 pp., $25.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:826-829.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:826-829

Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory: By Nancy Chodorow. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1989, 286 pp., $25.00.

Review by:
Malkah T. Notman, M.D.

Nancy Chodorow has been one of the most important writers bridging psychoanalysis and feminism. Her book, The Reproduction of Mothering, published in 1978, described the implications for the development of female and male personality of the fact that women mother in all societies. A sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley, she is also now an advanced candidate at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute. Chodorow's important contribution in that book was the elaboration of the preoedipal relationship of the girl and the boy to the mother, and the defensive development of the male against the powerful ties to the mother. At that time, Chodorow was oriented to the possibility of achieving social changes in the direction of greater equality between men and women if mothering were to become less exclusively female. Her discussion of the implications of the early relationship to the mother and its effects on gender development is cited widely as a persuasive and coherent theory, even though the social prescriptions have receded. Dr. Chodorow has since broadened her interests. In the current book she brings together essays that preceded the earlier book and more recent papers. She tackles some of the most critical questions in the dialogue between psychoanalysts and feminists. She does this from the point of view of both an analyst and a feminist.

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