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Aldo Naouri, Sylvie Angel, Philippe Gutton

Jewish Mothers

The stereotypical Jewish mother is supposed to be deeply devoted, tireless, self-sacrificing, possessive, meddling and terribly anxious. The authors, who are all psychologists, argue that this is actually an extreme description of all mothers, and that the stereotype may help us to understand motherhood and the notion of femininity.
Sylvie Angel examines the origins of what she sees as a fairly recent social figure, and analyzes what this figure reveals about the status of women in modern societies.
Aldo Naouri asks the question: Does the “Jewish mother” represent a radical version of something that lies dormant in all mothers: the temptation of absolute power?
Philippe Gutton describes the steps that, according to psychoanalysis, women must go through to become mothers. He then asks: In a society where femininity imposes motherhood, perhaps becoming the clichéd “Jewish mother” is women’s sole recourse in the struggle against male supremacy.

Aldo Naouri is a paediatrician and the author of many best-selling books such as Les Filles et leurs Mères and, recently, Adultères, which was a major publishing event in the autumn of 2006.
Sylvie Angel is a psychiatrist, family therapist and psychoanalyst. She is the author of, most notably, La Deuxième Chance en amour (Editions Odile Jacob, 2006).
Philippe Gutton, a psychoanalyst specialising in adolescence, is a professor emeritus at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He is the author of Le Pubertaire, psychothérapie et adolescence.