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Macvarish Family Matters Lecture Slides

Slides to accompany the lecture Family Matters, given at the Academy 2019.

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Macvarish Family Matters Lecture Slides

  1. 1. Family Matters: The family and the culture wars Jan Macvarish Saturday 20 July 2019 The Academy
  2. 2. Lenore Davidoff, 2011 ‘When the child asks ‘Who am I?’, he or she learns that the assignment of a first name places them within a gender group, a second name within a family and kin group. This then leads to the question ‘Who are we and how do we relate to a wider whole?’ It is only possible to answer this by establishing who we are not. Identity is created through establishing difference, by demarking ‘us and them’. These are not only rational but also emotional imperatives couched in the language of morality: what we do is right. As the person matures, these questions extend to ‘Who do I trust?’, ‘What is the group that I use as my reference point for how a life should be lived?’
  3. 3. Edmund Burke, 1790 ‘To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind.’
  4. 4. “Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this and you would find it very interesting to watch. It's quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on Earth you picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek, as if it were a nice kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out the prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan, 1911
  5. 5. Max Horkheimer, Authority and the Family, 1936 ‘The individual mechanisms which operate in shaping the authority-oriented character within the family have been the object of investigation, especially by modern depth-psychology. The latter has shown how the lack of independence, the deep sense of inferiority that afflicts most men, the centering of their whole psychic life around the ideas of order and subordination, but also their cultural achievements are all conditioned by the relations of child to parents or their substitutes and to brothers and sisters. The concepts of repression and sublimation as the outcomes of conflict with social reality have greatly advanced our understanding of the phenomena mentioned.’
  6. 6. Harry Harlow 1952, ‘Maternal Care and Mental Health’
  7. 7. 1964 Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don't criticize What you can't understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly agin' Please get out of the new one If you can't lend your hand For the times they are a-changin'
  8. 8. Erich Fromm, Crisis of Psychoanalysis, 1970 ‘we can say that the patricentric individual --and society -- is characterized by a complex of traits in which the following are predominant: a strict superego, guilt feelings, docile love for paternal authority, desire and pleasure at dominating weaker people, acceptance of suffering as a punishment for one's own guilt, and a damaged capacity for happiness. The matricentric complex, by contrast, is characterized by a feeling of optimistic trust in mother's unconditional love, far fewer guilt feelings, a far weaker superego, and a greater capacity for pleasure and happiness. Along with these traits there also develops the ideal of motherly compassion and love for the weak and others in need of help’ (CoP, p. 131).
  9. 9. Gay Liberation Front Manifesto, 1971 ‘Were it not also for the captive wife, educated by advertising and everything she reads into believing that she needs ever more new goodies for the home, for her own beautification and for the children's wellbeing, our economic system could not function properly, depending as it does on people buying far more manufactured goods than they need. The housewife, obsessed with the ownership of as many material goods as possible, is the agent of this high level of spending. None of these goods will ever satisfy her, since there is always something better to be had, and the surplus of these pseudo 'necessities' goes hand in hand with the absence of genuinely necessary goods and services, such as adequate housing and schools.’
  10. 10. Gay Liberation Front Manifesto 1971 ‘Gay shows the way. In some ways we are already more advanced than straight people. We are already outside the family and we have already, in part at least, rejected the 'masculine' or 'feminine' roles society has designed for us. In a society dominated by the sexist culture it is very difficult, if not impossible, for heterosexual men and women to escape their rigid gender- role structuring and the roles of oppressor and oppressed. But gay men don't need to oppress women in order to fulfil their own psycho-sexual needs, and gay women don't have to relate sexually to the male oppressor, so that at this moment in time, the freest and most equal relationships are most likely to be between homosexuals.’
  11. 11. 2017 19 million families in the UK - married or cohabiting couples, couples plus children or one person plus child(ren) 13 million were married or civil partner couple families 12.8 million were opposite sex married couple families. 35,000 same sex married couples 55,000 civil partner couples