Human Studies 43 (1):37-60 (2020)

Laura McMahon
Eastern Michigan University
We often think of normal childhood as a progressive development towards a fixed—and often tacitly individualistic and masculine—model of what it is to be an adult. By contrast, phenomenologists, psychoanalysts, sociology of childhood, and feminist thinkers have set out to offer richer accounts both of childhood development and of mature existence. This paper draws on accounts of childhood development from phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty and object relations theorist D. W. Winnicott in order to argue that childhood development takes place in “transitional spaces”; explores typical gendered patterns in the formation of selfhood that “split” relationality and separateness into the “feminine” and the “masculine”; and offers a phenomenology of perception, love, and objectivity in order to show the manner in which, contra individualistic and masculine visions of adulthood, maturity requires an embrace rather than eschewal of ambiguity, and the capacity to continue to dwell in the transitional space between relatedness and separateness.
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DOI 10.1007/s10746-019-09528-0
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References found in this work BETA

Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press.

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