A 'wall of ideas': the taboo on tenderness in theory and culture

Miller, G. (2007) A 'wall of ideas': the taboo on tenderness in theory and culture. New Literary History, 38(4), pp. 667-681. (doi:10.1353/nlh.2008.0010)

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Abstract

The dominant psychoanalytic theories in the humanities promote a myth of origins in which the infant is originally asocial, and motivated only by selfish hedonism, or by a desire to return to a state of syncretic merger with its environment. Developmental psychology, however, has demonstrated that infants are social agents, rather than selfish narcissists. Psychoanalytic theory of culture must therefore recognise the masculine "taboo on tenderness" which underlies its own early formulations, and which is apparent in a diverse range of cultural phenomena—from the eighteenth-century revolt against sensibility, to the commodification of sentiment, and the contemporary sexualisation of both love and touch.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Miller, Dr Gavin
Authors: Miller, G.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:New Literary History
ISSN:0028-6087
ISSN (Online):1080-661X

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