Juliet Mitchell

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Juliet Mitchell
Born (1940-10-04)4 October 1940
Christchurch, New Zealand
Nationality British
Children Polly Rossdale
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Institutions Psychoanalysis Unit of University College London (UCL)
Main interests

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

Early life and education[edit]

Mitchell was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1940, and then moved to England in 1944, where she stayed with her grandparents in the midlands. She attended St Anne's College, Oxford, where she received a degree in English in 1962, as well as doing postgraduate work.[1] 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 journal, New Left Review.[2]


Women: The Longest Revolution[edit]

Mitchell gained instant media attention with her pathbreaking article “Women: The Longest Revolution", in the New Left Review (1966), an original synthesis of Simone de Beauvoir, Frederich Engels, Viola Klein, Betty Friedan and other analysts of women's oppression.[3][4]

The Cambridge University Centre for Gender Studies[edit]

She is a fellow professor of Psychoanalysis at the Jesus College, Cambridge and founded the Centre for Gender Studies at Cambridge University.[5] In 2010 she is appointed director of the Expanded Doctoral School in Psychoanalytic Studies at the Psychoanalysis Unit of University College London (UCL).[6]

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

Psychoanalysis and Feminism[edit]

Mitchell is best known for her book Psychoanalysis and Feminism: Freud, Reich, Laing and Women (1974),[7] in which she tried to reconcile psychoanalysis and feminism at a time when many considered them incompatible.[8] Peter Gay considered it "the most rewarding and responsible contribution"[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]


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.[12] 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.[13] According to Mitchell, children are socialised into appropriate gender roles. Therefore, women grow to be equally socialised into becoming the caretakers of their households.[14]

Feminine sexuality[edit]

In her introduction to Jacques 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".[15]



  • Woman's Estate. Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1971. ISBN 9780140214253.
  • Psychoanalysis and Feminism: Freud, Reich, Laing, and Women. New York: Pantheon Books. 1974. ISBN 9780394474724.
Reissued as: Psychoanalysis and Feminism: A radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis. New York City: Basic Books. 2000. ISBN 9780465046089.
  • Women, the Longest Revolution. New York City: Pantheon Books. 1984. ISBN 9780394725741.
  • Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria. New York City: Basic Books. 2000. ISBN 9780465046133.
  • Siblings: Sex and Violence. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press. 2003. ISBN 9780745632216.

Edited books[edit]

  • Mitchell, Juliet; Oakley, Ann (1976). The Rights and Wrongs of Women. Harmondsworth New York: Penguin. ISBN 9780140216165.
  • 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. ISBN 9780393302110.
  • Mitchell, Juliet; Oakley, Ann (1986). What is Feminism?. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 9780631148432.
  • Mitchell, Juliet (editor); Klein, Melanie (author) (1987). The Selected Melanie Klein. New York: Free Press. ISBN 9780029214817.
  • Mitchell, Juliet; Oakley, Ann (1997). Who's Afraid of Feminism?: seeing through the backlash. New York: New Press Distributed by W. W. Norton. ISBN 9781565843851.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Juliet Mitchell interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 6th May 2008". Alanmacfarlane.com. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  2. ^ Benewick, Robert; Green, Philip (1998). "Juliet Mitchell 1940–". The Routledge dictionary of twentieth-century political thinkers. Psychology Press. p. 228. ISBN 9780415096232.
  3. ^ Juliet Mitchell. "Juliet Mitchell: Women: The Longest Revolution. New Left Review I/40, November-December 1966". Newleftreview.org. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  4. ^ https://platypus1917.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/38-Singh-Mitchell1.pdf
  5. ^ "Professor Juliet Mitchell | Jesus College in the University of Cambridge". Jesus.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  6. ^ UCL: Juliet Mitchell Archived 2012-11-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (1974). Psychoanalysis and feminism: Freud, Reich, Laing, and women. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 9780394474724.
  8. ^ Juliet Mitchell Archive at marxists.org
  9. ^ Gay, Peter (1988). Freud: a life for our time. London: Dent. p. 774. ISBN 9780460047616.
  10. ^ Herik, Judith (1985). Freud on femininity and faith. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780520053335.
  11. ^ Tandon, Neeru (2008). Feminism: a paradigm shift. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 83. ISBN 9788126908882.
  12. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (2000), "The Oedipus Complex and the patriarchal society", in Mitchell, Juliet, Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis, New York City: 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...
  13. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (2000), "The castration complex and penis-envy", in Mitchell, Juliet, Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis, New York City: Basic Books, pp. 95–100, ISBN 9780465046089
  14. ^ Mitchell, Juliet (2000), "Conclusion: The holy family and femininity", in Mitchell, Juliet, Psychoanalysis and feminism: a radical reassessment of Freudian psychoanalysis, New York City: Basic Books, pp. 364–416, ISBN 9780465046089
  15. ^ 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]