The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination Hardcover – 1 Aug 1988
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"A clear, closely argued study of power and desire, which succeeds in making psychic life a social reality."
Richard Sennett, author of "The Fall of Public Man
"An important book . . . an amazingly lucid account of the way power all too often becomes intertwined with gender."
Ethel Person, "The New York Times Book Review
"Many of us have long admired Jessica Benjamin's intricate rethinking of social theory and psychoanalytic theory. The Bonds of Love gives us Benjamin at her best, and psychoanalytic social theory at its best, as she demonstrates brilliantly the complex intertwining of familial, gender, and social domination."
Nancy Chodorow, author of "The Reproduction of Mothering"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Why do people submit to authority and derive pleasure even others have over them? What is the appeal of domination and submission, and why are they so prevalent in erotic life? Why is it so difficult for men and women to meet as equals? Why, indeed, do hey continue to recapitulate the positions of master and slave?
In The Bonds of Love, noted feminist theorist and psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin explains why we accept and perpetuate relationships of domination and submission. She reveals that domination is a complex psychological process which ensnares both parties in bonds of complicity, and shows how it underlies our family life, our social institutions, and especially our sexual relations, in spite of our conscious commitment to equality and freedom. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
However do not let that put you off. If you persevere with this you will come through with some sense of enlightenment. This is not a pop psychology book as Jessica looks at the psychological need to be dominated drawing from the early childhood experiences extrapolated into adulthood. In looking at this she draws on the story of "O."
Whilst simplistic feminism posited that once the sisters attained power the world would somehow be better more caring sharing and wholesome. Jessica in the midst of this herd like belief shows that those who are downtrodden do not equate into enlightened subjects. She has mined down deep to show how this could be achieved by showing the architectur of oppression amongst those who have been most trampled upon. In this case she looks at women. However this basis could be used to look at other groups who have been excluded from power. It can also be used to look at those who wield power.
This is a format Alice Miller has drawn upon to analyse the impact of familial violence and the world around families drawing on Kafka, Stalin, Hitler, Picasso, Mishima and a host of other people who have constructed the world we live within.
I especially liked the attempt by Benjamin to work out a cogent explanation of the source and nature of feminine Sexual Desire. She doesn't arrive at adefinitive model but does present a convincing case that it lies in the sense of being able to feel safe and free within a "transistional space" wherein one feels ones drives as being from ones own self and not the result of identifcation with the other.
Overall a very dense book, that for me rewarded skipping around alot.