Juliet Mitchell

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Juliet Mitchell FBA
Born 1940
New Zealand
Alma mater St Anne's College, Oxford
Main interests Psychoanalysis and socialist feminism

Juliet Mitchell, FBA (born 1940) is a British psychoanalyst and socialist feminist.

Life and career[edit]

Mitchell was born in New Zealand in 1940, and moved to England in 1944. She attended St Anne's College, Oxford, where she received a degree in English, as well as doing postgraduate work. She taught English literature from 1962 to 1970 at Leeds University and Reading University. Throughout the 1960s, Mitchell was active in leftist politics, and was on the editorial committee of the influential journal, New Left Review.[1]

She was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge and Professor of Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies at Cambridge University, before in 2010 being appointed to be the Director of the Expanded Doctoral School in Psychoanalytic Studies at Psychoanalysis Unit of University College London (UCL).[2]

She is a retired registrant of the British Psychoanalytic Council.[citation needed]

Writings[edit]

Psychoanalysis and Feminism[edit]

Mitchell is best known for her book Psychoanalysis and Feminism: Freud, Reich, Laing and Women (1974),[3] in which she tried to reconcile psychoanalysis and feminism at a time when many considered them incompatible.[4] Peter Gay considered it "the most rewarding and responsible contribution'"[5] to the feminist debate on Freud, both acknowledging and rising beyond Freud's male chauvinism in its analysis. Mitchell saw Freud's asymmetrical view of masculinity and femininity as reflecting the realities of patriarchal culture, and sought to use his critique of femininity to critique patriarchy itself.[6] By insisting on the utility of Freud (particularly in a Lacanian reading) for feminism, she opened the way for further critical work on psychoanalysis and gender.[7]

Child-rearing[edit]

A substantial part of the thesis of the book is that Marxism may provide a model within which non-patriarchal structures for rearing children could occur.[8] The lack of the 'family romance' would remove the Oedipus complex from a child's development, thus liberating women from the consequences of penis envy and the feeling of being castrated which Mitchell contends is the root cause of women's acceptance that they are inferior.[9] According to Mitchell, children are socialized into appropriate gender roles. Therefore, women grow to be equally socialized into becoming the caretakers of their households.[10]

Feminine sexuality[edit]

In her introduction to Lacan on feminine sexuality, Mitchell stresses that "in the Freud that Lacan uses, neither the unconscious nor sexuality...[are] pre-given facts, they are constructions; that is, they are objects with histories".[11]

Works[edit]

Monographs[edit]

  • Mitchell, Juliet (1971). Woman's estate. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 9780140214253. 
  • Mitchell, Juliet (1974). Psychoanalysis and feminism: Freud, Reich, Laing, and women. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 9780394474724. 
Reissued as: Mitchell, Juliet (2000). Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis. New York, New York: Basic Books. ISBN 9780465046089. 
  • Mitchell, Juliet (1984). Women, the longest revolution. New York, New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 9780394725741. 
  • Mitchell, Juliet (2000). Mad men and Medusas: reclaiming hysteria. New York, New York: Basic Books. ISBN 9780465046133. 
  • Mitchell, Juliet (2003). Siblings: sex and violence. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. ISBN 9780745632216. 

Edited books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benewick, Robert; Green, Philip (1998). "Juliet Mitchell 1940-". The Routledge dictionary of twentieth-century political thinkers. Psychology Press. p. 228. ISBN 9780415096232. 
  2. ^ UCL: Juliet Mitchell
  3. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (1974). Psychoanalysis and feminism: Freud, Reich, Laing, and women. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 9780394474724. 
  4. ^ Juliet Mitchell Archive at marxists.org
  5. ^ Gay, Peter (1988). Freud: a life for our time. London: Dent. p. 774. ISBN 9780460047616. 
  6. ^ Herik, Judith (1985). Freud on femininity and faith. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780520053335. 
  7. ^ Tandon, Neeru (2008). Feminism: a paradigm shift. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 83. ISBN 9788126908882. 
  8. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (2000), "The Oedipus Complex and the patriarchal society", in Mitchell, Juliet, Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis, New York, New York: Basic Books, pp. 377–381, ISBN 9780465046089, Under capitalism, the mass of mankind, propertyless and working socially together en masse for the first time in the history of civilization would be unlikely, were it not for the preservation of the family... 
  9. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (2000), "The castration complex and penis-envy", in Mitchell, Juliet, Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis, New York, New York: Basic Books, pp. 95–100, ISBN 9780465046089 
  10. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (2000), "Conclusion: The holy family and femininity", in Mitchell, Juliet, Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis, New York, New York: Basic Books, pp. 364–416, ISBN 9780465046089 
  11. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (editor); Lacan, Jacques (author); Rose, Jacqueline (translator and editor) (1985). Feminine sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne. New York London: Pantheon Books W.W. Norton. p. 4. ISBN 9780393302110. 

External links[edit]