Nancy Chodorow, PhD: Women mother daughters: The Reproduction of Mothering after forty years




Registration, which is free of charge, is open to IPA members and candidates, other interested mental health professionals, scholars and academics. A copy of the paper will be made available to registrants, also free of charge and with the copyright owner’s permission, in advance of the meeting. Ideally, all registrants will have read the paper beforehand and have an opportunity to ask questions or make comments to the guest author.

Chodorow, N.J. (2020). Women mother daughters: The Reproduction of Mothering after forty years. In: Nancy Chodorow and the Reproduction of Mothering: Forty Years On, ed. Petra Bueskens. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 49-80. 

In The Reproduction of Mothering, published in 1978, I explore mother-daughter and mothering through the lenses of development, psyche and time. Throughout the life cycle, mothering and maternal identities and practices are for women generational and gendered, for those who become mothers and those who do not. A mother–daughter constellation inheres in the internal world, in the psychic and physical body, in identity and the ego, in the effects of the psychic body on the “real” body as well as the reverse, and in the sense of self as daughter and sense of self as mother. Gender and generation, development and time, are fundamental components of maternality throughout the life cycle.

In “Women Mother Daughters: The Reproduction of Mothering After Forty Years,” my contribution to Petra Bueskens, ed., Nancy Chodorow and The Reproduction of Mothering: Forty Years On, I consider the book historically and extend it clinically, developmentally, and generationally, beginning from my motivating curiosity about mother-daughter relationships. I describe the inner mother-daughter world in women at different stages in their life cycle -- in a young mother, a grandmother, in some who do not mother, and in everyday life. For each woman who mothers (or who does not), we find that internal experiences and identities go into how she feels about her mother, her children and herself as mother. 

The Chodorow paper can be downloaded at this link.


Nancy Chodorow, PhD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst Emerita and Faculty at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; Faculty, San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis; and Lecturer Part-time in Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance. She is Professor of Sociology Emerita, University of California, Berkeley, where she co-founded the University of California Interdisciplinary Psychoanalytic Consortium and the UC Berkeley Women's Studies Department. She has recently served on the Holmes Commission on Racial Equality of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the IPA Research Committee, and the IPA Sexual and Gender Diversities Studies Committee.

Chodorow has written on psychoanalysis, gender and feminism, psychoanalysis and the social, and Loewald and the Loewaldian tradition. She has named an American independent tradition, intersubjective ego psychology, whose founding theorists are Loewald and Erikson. Her books include The Reproduction of Mothering; Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory; Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond; The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture; Individualizing Gender and Sexuality: Theory and Practice; and The Psychoanalytic Ear and the Sociological Eye: Toward an American Independent Tradition. A book in her honor, Nancy Chodorow and The Reproduction of Mothering: 40 Years On (Petra Bueskens, ed.) was published in 2020.

The regular moderator of the Journal Club is Jack Drescher, MD

Jack Drescher, MD,
a member of IPA’s Communications Committee, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in New York City. A recipient of the 2022 Mary S. Sigourney Award for his international work on gender and sexuality, Dr. Drescher is on the faculties of the William Alanson White Institute, the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and the Florida Psychoanalytic Center. He is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia as well. He is an elected Director-at-Large of the American Psychoanalytic Association. His publications have been translated into numerous languages. He is author of Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man (Routledge) and Emeritus Editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health.