Ian Suttie’s matriarchy: A feminist utopia?

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Widely acknowledged as an inspiration and early model for the British object relations school, Ian Suttie’s work illustrates both the school’s advantages and its pitfalls. Suttie’s work includes a core concept of matriarchy as the social order best suited for healthy upbringing. As object relations theory has attracted both praise and criticism from feminists for its perceptions of gender and the family, examining Suttie’s notion of matriarchy may serve as a test case for the relationist approach to gender and its links to wider political questions. I argue that Suttie provides some insights that will later be appropriated and further developed by key feminist thinkers. His position, however, implies an essentialist foundation that makes family relations hierarchic and non-negotiable. The structured household and its gendered division of labor is the cornerstone of Suttie’s utopia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-392
Number of pages18
JournalPsychoanalysis, Culture & Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Feminism
  • Matriarchy
  • Object Relations
  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Family Relations
  • Sociability


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