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Hartman, J.J. (1989). Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XII, 1988: Male Adolescent Initiation Rituals: Whiting's Hypothesis Revisited. Leora N. Rosen. Pp. 131-155.. Psychoanal Q., 58:687.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XII, 1988: Male Adolescent Initiation Rituals: Whiting's Hypothesis Revisited. Leora N. Rosen. Pp. 131-155.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:687

Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XII, 1988: Male Adolescent Initiation Rituals: Whiting's Hypothesis Revisited. Leora N. Rosen. Pp. 131-155.

John J. Hartman

Rosen undertakes reappraisal of anthropologists Whiting, Kluckhohn, and Anthony's 1958 hypothesis that harsh rites at puberty were connected with close mother-infant bonds in primitive culture. Originally interested in validating psychoanalytic propositions through cross-cultural socialization data, Whiting, as well as the entire field of social or psychological anthropology, subsequently moved away from psychodynamic explanations of social phenomena. The author compares two societies with harsh male adolescent puberty initiation rituals, the Aranda of Australia and the Ndembu of Africa. She suggests that Whiting's earlier idea that the puberty rites deal with unresolved oedipal rivalry and his later notion that they are a way of breaking a strong identification with the mother are complementary. She utilizes Blos's idea that negative oedipal and preoedipal issues, such as separation from the mother, are revived in adolescence and can be dealt with through the puberty rites described. A discussion of how circumcision and subincision of the penis can have different symbolic functions in the same ritual sequence concludes the paper.

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Article Citation

Hartman, J.J. (1989). Psychoanalytic Study of Society. XII, 1988. Psychoanal. Q., 58:687

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