Book review for Mothering and Psychoanalysis

 

Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives

Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives

The December 2015 (no. 68) edition of the UK based psychoanalytic journal Free Associations has an excellent, richly descriptive review of my edited book Mothering and Psychoanalysis by Joanna Kellond. Here’s a few choice excerpts from her review:

“This section powerfully elucidates the complex ways in which ideas of subjectivity, attitudes to motherhood and social norms – all imbricated with economic imperatives – potentially collude in maintaining the neoliberal status quo.”

“Collectively, these essays explore both entrenched negative representations of the maternal and other discursive productions which offer new modes and possibilities for maternal signification and symbolisation. They thus play a role in the necessary re-imagining and transformation of the maternal beyond the terms of patriarchy.”

“[This section] continues this work of reimagining and redefinition, not least by foregrounding a move from the ‘infantocentric perspective’ common in much psychoanalytic theorising to a more intersubjective, even ‘maternocentric’, one (344).”

“This acknowledgement of the complex, multifaceted nature of maternal subjectivity provides a necessary redress to a rhetoric of idealisation that can leave mothers feeling inadequate.”

And finally,

“Bueskens is correct that the collection is eclectic, though it’s an eclecticism that works. Across the diverse papers certain themes recur, pulling them together into what feels like an important and timely conversation. The relationship between motherhood and neoliberalism, and the need to create new modes of signifying and symbolising the maternal beyond the terms of patriarchy are central themes that receive sophisticated and compelling exploration. These themes also speak to and feed into the collection’s abiding concern with not only an ethics, but a politics, of care. In this context, the maternal takes centre stage in both the theory and practice of imagining the world otherwise. As such, this collection will be an essential read for anyone concerned with this process of re-imagination, and with bringing the mother from ‘the shadows of our culture’ (Irigaray 1991: 35), into the light.”

You can read the full review here:

Flexibility won’t stop women retiring in poverty

NM pic for flexibility article

This article interrogates recent proposals by the Australian Liberal Party to ‘stop the gender gap’ in retirement savings. Essentially the proposals offer women the ‘flexibility’ to pay more of their own superannuation without addressing the systemic problems associated with combining care work with paid work. You can read the article here:

https://newmatilda.com/2015/10/30/flexibility-wont-stop-women-retiring-in-poverty/

Malcolm Turnbull, Immanuel Kant and the conundrum of small and big l liberals

Malcolm Turnbull MP

Malcolm Turnbull MP

Everyone has something to say about Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the ‘small l’ liberal leading the ‘big l’ Liberal Party.  In this article I respond to an article in New Matilda by Spencer Jackson on the relevance of the eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant for Turnbull’s refugee policy. In it I outline the key differences between small l and big l liberalism and the conundrum for Turnbull between his idealism and pragmatism. You can read the article here.

Keeping up supply: it isn’t only about the milk

Kelly O'Dwyer and baby Olivia 2015

Kelly O’Dwyer and baby Olivia 2015

This article examines the recent breastfeeding/expressing controversy around Australian Member of Parliament Kelly O’Dwyer. It first describes this incident and then makes a critique of the neo-liberal emphasis on ‘expressing’ as an equivalent to breastfeeding. The article was published in OnLineOpinion on Septermber 22nd, 2015. You can read the article here.

This article was re-posted on Andrea Fox’s wonderful bluemilk blog along with a number of other interesting articles on neo-liberal mothering. You can read the post here.

 

Breastfeeding and work: babies need more than just (pumped) milk, they also need their mother’s bodies

Routledge Press

Routledge Press

One of the key issues concerning breastfeeding and work is women having the flexibility to feed while they are working. This calls for a radical transformation in the culture of work. While most women manage this combination through pumping, as maternal scholar Julie Stephens notes, this relationship superimposes neo-liberal work norms onto mothers, by separating maternal and infant (or toddler) bodies (2010). With pumping, it is the mother who adjusts to an individualist work culture rather than the other way around. Mothers remove their milk and remain separated at the bodily level from their babies – keeping up the “supply” of both milk and work – while maintaining a façade of the disembodied worker. This piece was written for the Routledge Press blog for World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2015.

Mothering and Psychoanalysis

 Nancy Chodorow and Petra Bueskens_Maynooth University_June2015

Dr Petra Bueskens, editor of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia and lecturer at the Australian College of Applied Psychology recently attended the Motherhood and Cultures conference at Maynooth University in Dublin, Ireland. The keynote speakers were Professor Nancy Chodorow and Professor Andrea O’Reilly – both leaders in the field of motherhood studies. Sessions focused on motherhood in contemporary art, literature, media and culture, including in psychology and psychotherapy research and practice. A short article in July 2015 PACFA eNews covered my recent attendance at this conference. You can read the piece on page 20 or read the excerpt here:

eNews-July-2015_excerpt

 

Book Review for Petra Bueskens (ed.) Mothering & Psychoanalysis. Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives

 

PACJA

PACJA

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia, vol. 3 was released in July this year and included an excellent nuanced review of my edited book Mothering and Psychoanalysis by Amanda de Clifford. You can read the review here.

 

Breastfeeding in Public: A Personal and Political Memoir

Mothers at the MarginsI have a chapter “Breastfeeding in Public: A Personal and Political Memoir” in Mothers at the Margins Stories of Challenge, Resistance and Love edited by Lisa Raith, Jenny Jones, Marie Porter and published with Cambridge Scholars Press. You can check out the book and order it here. I will have a copy of my chapter available on this site in the coming months.

‘Disempowered’ men still lead on economic power

White Ribbon pic

“Feminist” organisation White Ribbon came into disrepute last week after one of its ambassadors, psychiatrist and journalist Tanveer Ahmed, wrote an opinion piece in The Australian, suggesting men’s violence against women could be attributed to the historic decline of men’s power. This decline, felt acutely by working class and recently arrived immigrant men, has been exacerbated by the decline in secure unionised employment. Men have become “feminised” and are, as a consequence, “humiliated”. It is this, he argues, that is “increasingly the driver of family-based violence”. In this piece I tackle both the fallacies and truths in Ahmed’s piece, making the point that Ahmed both depends upon yet falsely dispenses with feminism. This article was published in The Conversation on February 13, 2015 and can be read here.

 

Latham got it wrong: feminists are critical of social structure not kids

Latham picIn November former Labour leader Mark Latham wrote an op-ed “Why left feminists don’t like kids” in which he took aim at journalist Lisa Pryor who had the previous week written an op-ed in which she answered the proverbial “How do you do it?” question levelled at women (though not men) who work or study with young children. Her candid answer was that she “did it” with a combination of caffeine and anti-depressants. Latham extrapolated from Pryor’s piece that “left wing feminists” have a problem with kids. I challenge this assertion by making two points: first that “left wing feminists” (and others too) are critical of social structure not kids and; second, that Latham joins a long line of disingenuous anti-feminist thinkers in pitting educated, professional women against other women and indeed society at large. You can read my piece here.

 

Petra Bueskens | Mother, scholar, psychotherapist | Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Melbourne Daylesford