The adult-child relationship in breastfeeding and development: a Merleau-Pontian perspective on the existential and social conflicts in childrearing

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (4):649-659 (2017)
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This paper discusses Merleau-Ponty’s use of idea of ambivalence and its role in psychological conflicts. Merleau-Ponty affirms ambivalent conflicts as lived and social rather than biologically determined, as one might have in some developmental accounts, or hidden, as in some psychoanalytic accounts. With this concept, the paper takes up feminist considerations of the conflicts experienced by mothers in breastfeeding. It argues that the Merleau-Pontian and feminist approach to considering breastfeeding provides a nuanced model for thinking about development that is better suited to cases where both the child and the parent are co-evolving.



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Talia Welsh
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

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Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Being and nothingness.Jean-Paul Sartre - 1956 - Avenel, N.J.: Random House.
Civilization and its discontents.Sigmund Freud - 1966 - In John Martin Rich (ed.), Readings in the philosophy of education. Belmont, Calif.,: Wadsworth Pub. Co..

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