Psychoanalysts On The Radio: Domestic citizenship and motherhood in postwar Britain

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Abstract

During World War II, British psychoanalysts developed a social role and public engagement that led to their widened recognition in postwar society. The second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, a diverse group of both native professionals and continental Jewish refugees, included prominent individuals like Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, John Bowlby, Susan Isaacs, and Donald Winnicott, as well as now-forgotten personalities such as Edward Glover, Barbara Low, and Melitta Schmideberg. These experts had a profound role in making the understanding of children and the mother-child relationship key to the successful creation of democratic citizenry in this formative period.1 Psychoanalysts informed understandings not only of individuals but also of broader political questions in an age of mass violence. Through their emphasis on mother-child relations and on diverse “separation theories” (stressing the risk of separation of mother and child, often a reality in wartime), they offered influential answers to the pressing need for cultivating harmonious and cooperative citizens. Working during the war beyond their own private clinics, they contributed to the emergence of a modern psychological definition of childhood and parenthood in relation to warfare and democracy.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen and Gender in Postwar Europe
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Cold War to European Union
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages71-86
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781136454813
ISBN (Print)9780415694995
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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