Winnicott, participation and gender

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Winnicott's work has been both criticized and commended by feminists: it was attacked for normalizing women's traditional role, but praised for conceptualizing relationships which are free of the I-other oppositions. In the picture painted by his advocates, Winnicott appears as a participationist who values the transformative qualities of social interaction and public deliberation. I argue that, while Winnicott does hold participation up as an ideal, he relegates other pursuits to subsidiary roles that are distanced from participation, and so divides the world into two realms that complement and exclude each other. His work is therefore at odds with feminism's project of overcoming the sphere division.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-581
Number of pages21
JournalFeminism and Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Binaries
  • Liberty
  • Transitional space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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