Chodorow, Nancy (Julia) 1944-
CHODOROW, Nancy (Julia) 1944-
PERSONAL: Born January 20, 1944, in New York, NY; daughter of Marvin (a professor of applied physics) and Leah Ruth (Turitz) Chodorow; married Michael Reich (a professor of economics), 1977 (divorced, 1996); children: Rachel, Gabriel. Education: Radcliffe College, A.B. (summa cum laude), 1966; attended London School of Economics and Political Science, 1966-67; attended Harvard University, 1967-68; Brandeis University, M.A., 1972, Ph.D., 1975; San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, graduate, 1993; certified in psychoanalysis, 2000.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—5305 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618; Department of Sociology, University of California—Berkeley, 410 Barrows Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720.
CAREER: Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, instructor in women's studies, 1973-74; University of California, Santa Cruz, lecturer, 1974-76, assistant professor, 1976-79, associate professor of sociology, 1979-86; Institute for Personality Assessment and Research, University of California, Berkeley, associate research sociologist, 1981-83; University of California, Berkeley, associate professor, 1986-89, professor of sociology, 1989—, clinical professor of psychology, 1999—. Member of faculty, San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, beginning 1994; psychoanalyst in private practice, in Oakland, CA.
MEMBER: International Psychoanalytic Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, Sociological Research Association, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Institutes for Mental Health fellowship, 1966-68, 1972-73; Brandeis University fellowship, 1969-70; National Science Foundation fellowship, 1970-72; Jessie Bernard Award, American Sociological Association, 1979, for The Reproduction of Mothering (named by Contemporary Sociology "One of ten most important books of the past 25 years," 1996); Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences fellow, 1980-81; Russell Sage Foundation grant, 1981-86; National Endowment for the Humanities grant, 1982-85, 1985-86, and fellowship, 1995-96; Blazer Lecturer, University of Kentucky, 1990; Editions Iichiko prize (Tokyo), 1991; American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, 1991-92; Guggenheim fellowship, 1995-96; L. Bryce Boyer Prize, Society for Psychological Anthropology, 2000, for The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture; Distinguished Contribution to Women and Psychoanalysis Award, American Psychological Association, 2000; fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 2001-2002.
The Reproduction of Mothering, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1978, 2nd edition, with a new preface by the author, 1999.
Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1994.
Contributor to numerous anthologies and book chapters, including foreword to Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (2000). Also contributor to various periodicals, including Annual of Psychoanalysis, Journal of Psychoanalysis in Culture and Society, Women and Therapy, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Common Knowledge, International Journal of Psychoanalysis, American Images, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Editorial associate, Studies in Gender and Sexuality; American book review editor, International Journal of Psychoanalysis.
SIDELIGHTS: Nancy Chodorow is a sociologist, scholar, educator, and psychoanalyst whose books break new ground on the subject of the psychology of gender and psyche and culture. She has made significant contributions to feminist theory with "her reappraisal of the ways in which the psychological dynamics of the sex-gender system is systematically reproduced and subject to historical change and development," according to Feminist Writers contributor Gerri McNenny. Chodorow conducted a study in the early 1980s of women analysts who had trained from 1920 to 1940. Titled "Seventies Questions for Thirties Women: Gender and Generation in a Study of Early Women Psychoanalysts," the study became an important contribution to the literature in feminist methodology.
In the introduction to her book Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, Chodorow writes: "I part company with most American psychoanalysts in my reliance on object relations theory and in that I have always seen psychoanalysis as an interpretive enterprise (not medical nor scientific). I differ from many academic humanists in seeing psychoanalysis as a social science that is a theoretically grounded but, nonetheless, empirically infused study of lives."
The Reproduction of Mothering is perhaps Chodorow's most influential book. In it, she challenges the traditional view that females are biologically predisposed toward nurturing infants. Mothering, she argues, fulfills a woman's psychological need for reciprocal intimacy that begins during her babyhood when she and her mother perceive one another as extensions of themselves. Mothers are also close to their infant sons, says Chodorow, but they view their male children as different and do not share with them the same sense of "oneness" that they experience with their daughters. The author therefore contends that mature males, unaccustomed to a psychologically intimate relationship, are content to leave mothering to women.
Discussing The Reproduction of Mothering, McNenny explained: "Drawing on object-relations theory and the work of Talcott Parsons and the Frankfurt school, Chodorow contends that gender identity formation is largely a result of the dynamics of family relationships. . . . In the 'preoedipal' stage, Chodorow points out, the infant experiences a 'primary identification' with the mother and forms a primary love for the mother that makes no differentiation between the child's needs and desires and the ability of the mother to fulfill them. Gradually the child goes on to establish a sense of self through an expanded awareness of its own physical being. It begins to differentiate from the mother as it becomes less dependent upon her."
Sigmund Freud believed that once a girl entered the "oedipal" stage, forming an attachment to her father, her relationship with her mother became a hostile one because the mother was then seen as a rival. Chodorow does not agree with this classic theory, arguing instead that a girl's preoedipal bond with her mother can continue even after she develops a fascination with her father. "To establish her gender identity, a girl need not dissociate herself from the mother as radically as a boy does; a boy must establish his gender identity in contradistinction to his mother," McNenny elaborated. "Chodorow emphasizes the impact of same-gendered mothering on the psychosocial development of girls as well as boys." Chodorow critiques Freudian psychoanalytic theory in many other ways as well. "She argues that psychoanalysis cannot make universal claims concerning psychological development; they must take into account the cultural and historical conditions of the time, including the awareness of the fact that the nuclear family is the model from which most hypotheses and theories about psychological development are constructed," noted McNenny.
Chodorow's analysis of the uses of Freudian theory continues in Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond. In the first chapter, "Rethinking Freud on Women," she does not criticize the great psychoanalyst but rather points out the five ways in which he referred to women: in theory and analysis, in their internal world, socially and historically, and in their contributions to psychoanalysis. According to Choice contributor R. H. Balsam, the book includes "an excellent critique of Freud's views about women." Balsam wrote, "Chodorow's book will interest feminists, cultural theorists, and psychoanalysts, especially those following her thought since the seventies." In the book's second chapter, "Heterosexuality as a Compromise Formation," Chodorow discusses the types of sexuality and explains why heterosexuality should no longer be considered the norm and why no form of sexuality should be considered pathological. The final chapter, titled "Individuality and Difference in How Women and Men Love," Chodorow emphasizes that there are as many ways to love as there are individuals. She also articulates her conviction that every woman's adult love patterns are shaped by her love for her mother. Archives of Sexual Behavior contributor Stephen B. Levine wrote, "Chodorow has a deep reassuring respect for individuality. She is quite thoughtful about the importance of gender to love. Although she clearly is still intrigued by the possibility that a reinvented psychoanalytic theory may help us to understand how girls become women, currently she is vexed by her inability to reconcile the tensions between her perceptions of the basic identity patterns and the individual differences in how people experience love." Adam Phillips of the London Review of Books described the book as "concise," "informative," and "timely." Terri Apter of the Women's Review of Books wrote that Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities displays Chodorow's greatest strengths: "careful listening, revealing hidden images, highlighting connections."
Chodorow's 1999 book, The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture, addresses the ways in which a person's culture is not the sole influence on identity, the role that unconscious fantasy plays in giving meaning to personal experience, and the study of psychoanalytic theories of personal development and clinical interpretations of patients' lives. Chodorow again discusses gender and culture in this book. Diana Tietjens Meyers, in a review for the American Journal of Sociology, stated: "Rejecting both postmodernism's glorification of fragmentation and pre-feminist modernism's cult of timeless unity, Chodorow endorses gaining a sense of coherence and continuity by coming to terms with one's own psychic reality." Meyers said that what makes The Power of Feelings a valuable contribution to the analyst and the individual "is its account of personal meaning," which links the author's concepts of individuality and creativity. However, Meyers said she was unclear about Chodorow's concept of prelinguistic unconscious fantasy in infants. She also noticed the lack of explanation of how individuals consciously use interpretive skills in forming their reality and the lack of attention to the role of social and cultural issues on the individual. However, the reviewer expressed hope that Chodorow would discuss these in a future book and called The Power of Feelings "excellent."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Buhle, Mari Jo, Feminism and Its Discontents: A Century of Struggle with Psychoanalysis, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Chisholm, D., and others, editors, Feminism in Psychoanalysis: A Critical Dictionary, Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1992.
Chodorow, Nancy, Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1989.
Feminist Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Key Sociological Thinkers, edited by Rob Stones, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1998.
American Academy of Political and Social Science, Annals, July, 1991, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 215.
American Journal of Psychiatry, August, 2001, review of The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture, p. 1350.
American Journal of Sociology, January, 1995, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond, p. 1073; November, 2000, Diana Tietjens Meyers, review of The Power of Feelings, p. 850.
American Quarterly, June, 1991, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 347.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, October, 1999, Stephen B. Levine, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 397.
Canto: Review of the Arts, June, 1981, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 154.
Choice, June, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 1756; June, 1993, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 1585; January, 1995, R. H. Balsam, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 874.
Chronicle of Higher Education, March 14, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. A14.
Contemporary Sociology, July, 1979; November, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 805; May, 1996, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 305; March, 2001, L. Blum, review of The Power of Feelings, p. 199.
Ethics, October, 1982, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 103.
Harvard Educational Review, February, 1980, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 98.
Hypatia, spring, 1997, Morgan E. Forbes, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 140.
Journal of Marriage and the Family, May, 1992, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 465.
Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, summer, 1994.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1994, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 516.
Lambda Book Report, July, 1994, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 44.
Library Journal, October 1, 1989, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 109.
London Review of Books, March 9, 1995, Adam Phillips, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 10.
Ms., October, 1978.
New Statesman, April 4, 1980, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 514.
New York Review of Books, October 24, 1991, reviews of The Reproduction of Mothering and Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 25.
New York Times Book Review, January 1, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 12; October 30, 1994, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 49.
North American Review, fall, 1978.
Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Volume 5, number 2, 1995.
Publishers Weekly, October 13, 1989, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 40; October 11, 1991, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 61.
Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health, September, 1991, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 2.
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, spring, 1991, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 597; winter, 1992, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, pp. 435, 455.
Social Forces, September, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 342; September, 1995, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 373.
Social Science Quarterly, September, 1980, review of The Reproduction of Mothering, p. 364.
Sociological Review, August, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 585.
Time, February 26, 1979.
Times Literary Supplement, January 12, 1990, review of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, p. 46.
Women's Review of Books, January, 1995, Terri Apter, review of Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities, p. 21; November, 1999, Mari Jo Buhle, "A Passion for Psychoanalysis," review of The Power of Feelings, p. 14.
Radcliffe University Web site,http://www.radcliffe.edu/ (August 4, 2002), Radcliffe University Institute Fellowships, 2001-2002, "Nancy J. Chodorow,"
Webster University Web site,http://www.webster.edu/ (August 4, 2002), Women's Intellectual Contributions to the Study of Mind and Society, "Nancy Chodorow."
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