The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination

The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination

The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination

Why do people submit to authority and derive pleasure even others have over them? What is the appeal of domination and submission, and why are they so prevalent in erotic life? Why is it so difficult for men and women to meet as equals? Why, indeed, do hey continue to recapitulate the positions of master and slave?

In The Bonds of Love, noted feminist theorist and psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin explains why we accept and perpetuate relationships of domination and submission. She reveals that domination is a complex psychological process which ensnares both parties in bonds of complicity, and shows how it underlies our family life, our social institutions, and especially our sexual relations, in spite of our conscious commitment to equality and freedom.

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3 Comments so far »

  1. tamiii "tamiii" said,

    Wrote on January 31, 2012 @ 12:12 am

    18 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Very good but very dense., July 10, 1998
    By A Customer
    This review is from: The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination (Paperback)

    Initially I was shown this book by a friend because it contains an analysis of the “Story of O”.

    I especially liked the attempt by Benjamin to work out a cogent explanation of the source and nature of feminine Sexual Desire. She doesn’t arrive at adefinitive model but does present a convincing case that it lies in the sense of being able to feel safe and free within a “transistional space” wherein one feels ones drives as being from ones own self and not the result of identifcation with the other.

    Overall a very dense book, that for me rewarded skipping around alot.

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  2. Angela said,

    Wrote on January 31, 2012 @ 12:44 am

    7 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Salvaging Freud, January 19, 2003
    By 
    tamiii “tamiii” (San Juan Capistrano, Ca. United States) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination (Paperback)

    In remarkably clear language, Benjamin reworks Freudian psychoanalysis so to include the possibility of mothers and fathers mutually recognizing each other as subjects thereby enabling a cooperative relationship where similarities and differences are acknowledged. Without this modification, she argues that traditional Freudian theories with their sole reliance on individual intrapsychic reality cannot help but reproduce patriarchal gender relationships which are characterized by domination and submission, most notably reflected in the cultural polarity of male rationality and female vulnerability as seen, for example, in the Story of O. She further argues that the dispassionate rationality of the marketplace masks not only the dependency of the working class but male domination as well. Convincing in its integration of Freudian theory with both feminism and marxism, it marks a significant step forward in understanding how the personal is indeed political.

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  3. Anonymous said,

    Wrote on January 31, 2012 @ 1:36 am

    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great book – ahead of her time., October 21, 2010
    By 
    Angela (Chicago, USA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination (Paperback)

    This is an incredible book. Jessica Benjamin is able to make complex and nuanced concepts easily accessible to her audience. This is one you will read, underline, and find yourself referencing. Her ideas are still very contemporary and I was surprised to see the publication date! I wish she would write more!

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