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Destabilising dynamics of envy in co-mother relationships


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Anglo-American societies are characterised by a diverse range of family forms and yet the ideal of the monogamous heterosexual nuclear family persists in the imagination as the dominant model. New Zealand like other western countries is only just beginning to grapple with the idea of multiple parents and what this means in terms of relationships, rights and responsibilities. When there are two mothers sharing the same child(ren) such as in open adoption, fostering and stepfamilies the question of recognition or 'which is the real mother' becomes paramount for the people engaging with them. The 'other' mother disrupts the maternal narrative—the unitary mother. The disruption is destabilising for them and others, and "[s]ince we are socially situated creatures…we are profoundly vulnerable to the ways in which we are perceived and characterised by others" (Markell, 2003, p.2). This paper explores one aspect of the destabilisation which is the role of envy as outlined by Melanie Klein and more recently developed by Morrison and Lansky (2008).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: maternal subjects, object relations, envy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
Depositing User: Sallie Greenwood
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2011 22:54
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:33

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