The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Rereading Winnicott’s “Primary Maternal Preoccupation”

Hollway, Wendy (2012). Rereading Winnicott’s “Primary Maternal Preoccupation”. Feminism & Psychology, 22(1) pp. 20–40.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353511411692
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Using data examples, I re-approach Donald Winnicott’s idea of primary maternal pre- occupation (1984[1956]) through Bracha Ettinger’s matrixial concept of transsubjectivity. I argue that Winnicott recognises the radical difference between the mental state that women will have occupied formerly and the state that the prenatal and postnatal infant will claim, if the mother is available to it. With the benefit of a matrixial perspective it is possible to see how this description need not pathologise women, nor reproduce misogynistic discourses. On the contrary it begins to do justice to the enormity of women’s transition as they become mothers: enormity because it threatens to pitch them beyond the experience of being a self-contained autonomous individual, a position which is normalised in what Ettinger calls phallic logic. Feminists risk reproducing phallic logic if we dismiss on ideological grounds, and thereby pathologise, this radically other state characteristic of the peri-natal period that many women experience when they become mothers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2011 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1461-7161
Keywords: becoming mothers; matrixial; maternal depression; transsubjectivity
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Psychology in the Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 32611
Depositing User: Wendy Hollway
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2012 13:52
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2013 13:35
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/32611
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk