Matricentric Feminism is a Gift to the World

matricentric-final-cover-5

Andrea O’Reilly has a new book out called Matricentric Feminism. What’s that you ask? Its a feminism that centres mothers and recognises that being a mother is its own social, political, economic and psychological position. Mothers are a social category and need a feminism that recognises this. Likewise, as feminists we need to re-centre motherhood given the ongoing structural inequality produced by motherhood.

O’Reilly explores the theory, practice, activism and academic position of matricentric feminism. She takes us on a journey through diverse maternal feminist theory,  the emergence and growth of the motherhood movement in the 21st century, the practice of feminist mothering (and mothering as a feminist) and the complex, unacknowledged place of motherhood within academic feminism. I had the honour of writing the forward for this book having known Andrea personally and professionally for almost two decades now. You can read my forward here.

 

From the blurb:

The book argues that the category of mother is distinct from the category of woman, and that many of the problems mothers face—social, economic, political, cultural, psychological, and so forth—are specific to women’s role and identity as mothers. Indeed, mothers are oppressed under patriarchy as women and as mothers. Consequently, mothers need a feminism of their own, one that positions mothers’ concerns as the starting point for a theory and politic of empowerment. O’Reilly terms this new mode of feminism matricentic feminism and the book explores how it is represented and experienced in theory, activism, and practice. The chapter on maternal theory examines the central theoretical concepts of maternal scholarship while the chapter on activism considers the twenty-first century motherhood movement. Feminist mothering is likewise examined as the specific practice of matricentric feminism and this chapter discusses various theories and strategies on and for maternal empowerment. Matricentric feminism is also examined in relation to the larger field of academic feminism; here O’Reilly persuasively shows how matricentric feminism has been marginalized in academic feminism and considers the reasons for such exclusion and how such may be challenged and changed.

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:

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.

Mothering and Psychoanalysis book launch

Anne Manne

Anne Manne

We had a wonderful launch for Mothering and Psychoanalysis last night. You can view photos from the launch by John Mayger here.

Book launch of Mothering and Psychoanalysis

You are invited to the launch of my edited book Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives at Readings, Hawthorne, August 28th at 4pm. The book will be launched by the wonderful Anne Manne.  Come for a snack and a chat. Hope to see you there! Oh, and you can also pick up a copy of the book at the launch. Directions: Readings Hawthorn — 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122 http://www.readings.com.au/event/petra-bueskens-on-mothering-and-psychoanalysis

Breastfeeding ‘in public': A personal and political memoir

Feed in protest at the Hepburn Bathhouse, November 28, 2013.

Feed in protest at the Hepburn Bathhouse, November 28, 2013.

 

Karen Armstrong Feed in protest at the Hepburn Bathhouse, November 28, 2013.

Karen Armstrong
Feed in protest at the Hepburn Bathhouse, November 28, 2013.

 

In this article I offer a reflective autobiographical account of being asked not to breastfeed my then 13 month old at the Hepburn Bathhouse ostensibly for “hygiene” reasons and ultimately―for the organization changed their story―for “safety” reasons.  I explore the scholarly literature on breasts and breastfeeding especially as it relates to the public/private distinction on which the controversy implicitly rests making the case that it is our collective inability to symbolically place breasts―are they sexy or are they maternal? Are they natural or are they medicinal?―that renders “public” breastfeeding so challenging.  I make two further arguments: first, that breastfeeding controversies are increasingly defined by what the sociologists Michael Bittman and Judith Pixley call “pseudomutuality” (1997, p. 81), or, by a pretence of mutuality, such that discriminatory individuals and organisations routinely claim to be “pro-breastfeeding” and; second, claiming our right to feed in public is part of a broader maternal politics of embodied citizenship shifting extant norms premised on the ideal of the unencumbered, autonomous subject. Reconfiguring the image of the ideal-typical citizen as one who may also be pregnant with, birthing and/or nurturing another is part of this politics. In this view, breastfeeding “in public” is literally a transformative “coming out” redefining public space.

This chapter will be published in J. Jones, M. Porter and L. Raith. Mothers at the Margins. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2015.  (Please note: This link is to the table of contents and introduction. I will upload a copy of this paper soon).

 

I will be presenting the chapter in modified form at two conferences:

1. MIRCI “Mothers, Mothering and Motherhood From Ancient Greece to Contemporary Times” Conference, May 23rd-24th, 2014, Hellenic Education and Research Center in Athens, Greece. http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/GreeceCFP.pdf

2. Australian Breastfeeding Association Conference “Liquid Gold”, Melbourne, 1-3 August, 2014.

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/system/files/Call%20for%20Abstracts%20Liquid%20Gold.pdf

 

Demeter Press author interview

Demeter Press interviewed me in relation to the publication of Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives. They asked what the topic brings to the literature, about “therapy as a form of paid mothering” and what my favourite feminist book on motherhood is.  This interview can also be accessed here.

Demeter press interview with Petra Bueskens

Demeter press interview with Petra Bueskens

 

Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives

 

Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives

Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives

I am thrilled to announce the publication of Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives This book brings together the different disciplinary strands of psychoanalysis, sociology and feminism to consider motherhood and mothering. The psychoanalytic focus includes both theoretical and clinical applications ranging from textual analysis of films, books, art, theory and popular culture through to qualitative research on mothers, clinical case studies and analyses of therapeutic technique. The sociological focus includes a critique of therapy culture and its gendered implications. This collection is not only a contribution to psychoanalytic feminism but also, and importantly, a contribution to the feminist and sociological critique of the institution of therapy and the role of the therapist. Examining the maternal turn in psychoanalytic theory and practice and the rise of women therapists, this book seeks to shed light on the feminisation of therapy. Taking shape around five core themes: the therapist as mother, the mother in therapy, mothers in art and culture, psychoanalytic theory of mothers and mothering, and sociological interventions in therapy culture , this book endeavours to generate dialogue across disciplinary borders while placing mothers, mothering and motherhood at the centre of analysis.

The book can be purchased from Demeter Press for half price until Sept 1st here.  It is now available on Amazon too. You can purchase it here.

 

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