Uniform TitleThe war inside: child psychoanalysis and remaking the self in Britain, 1930-1960
NameShapira, Michal (author), Smith, Bonnie (chair), Scott, Joan (internal member), Gillis, John (internal member), Pedersen, Susan (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Children and war,
Child psychology--Great Britain,
DescriptionMy research concerns the socio-cultural effects of war and the development of expert culture in the twentieth century. My dissertation studies this problem by exploring the impact of WW II on the conceptualization and practice of selfhood in Britain. The war elevated psychoanalysis to a position not enjoyed anywhere else in the world. Britain was a secure destination for psychoanalysts fleeing Nazism and a cosmopolitan laboratory for the development of new theories on the far-reaching meanings of total war. Under the shock of bombing and evacuation, émigré analysts like Anna Freud and Melanie Klein and native analysts like John Bowlby and Donald Winnicott were called upon to help treat men, women, and especially children. These children were key. On the one hand, they came to be seen as vulnerable and in need of protection; on the other hand, as anxious, aggressive subjects requiring control. This moment turned out to be a decisive one both for the history of psychoanalysis and for expectations for gender roles, citizenship, and the welfare state. My research has made use of the unexplored archives of British psychoanalysts, nurseries, women's groups, clinics, courts, government committees, and the BBC to trace the war's heritage.
Psychoanalytic experts had a profound role in making the understanding of children and the mother-child relationship key to the creation of democratic citizenry. These professionals informed understandings not only of individuals, but also of broader political questions in the age of mass violence. By demonstrating a link between a real 'war outside' and an emotional 'war inside' they contributed to an increase in state responsibility for citizens' mental health. Historians have seldom looked at psychoanalysts other than Sigmund Freud as social actors in their cultures, leaving the histories of psychoanalytic movements' influence on European societies understudied. My research traces the work of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Freud to the horrors of total war and explores its postwar impact on both citizens and state officials. It revises the characteristic view of psychoanalysis as an elite discipline confined to the clinic, and adds to studies of history, gender, human sciences, war, and democracy.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 460-502).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsCopyright for theses and dissertations published in RU ETD is retained by the author. By virtue of their appearance in this open access medium, electronic theses and dissertations are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.