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Stack, C. (2000). Discussion. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 5(2):141-147.

(2000). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 5(2):141-147


Carolyn Stack, Psy.D.

Because I was one of Margaret Morganroth Gullette's editors on this paper (for which she graciously credits me), I am taking the liberty of responding less to the paper itself and more to a specific piece of it that aroused my interest. But before I enter that arena I do want to say a few words in general about Margaret's paper. First, I think she is addressing an enormously important and heretofore neglected topic—both the paucity of images in popular culture of women with adult children, and the persistent disavowal of the sociopolitical in psychoanalytic theorizing. As I have written elsewhere (Stack, 1999), psychoanalysis seems to believe that to consciously introduce the cultural marginalizes the unconscious, thus threatening what is psychoanalytic about psychoanalysis. This is an odd idea, which, I imagine, springs from a traditional adherence to psychoanalytic dogma as well as an aversion to confronting the thorny problems of hierarchical systems of power. But this is precisely where academic writers, like Gullette, versed in both psychoanalytic theory and a strong sense of political organizing at the grassroots level, can contribute so much to our field.

While Gullette does not address the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, it is an easy reach from her material to understand that if clinicians have an appreciation of the rigid and limited repertoire of images of postmaternity (absorbed from the culture) we will recognize the same melancholic repertoire in those female patients for whom mothering, prior to midlife, was a primary site of identity and self-esteem.

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