Article ID: CBB726898562

Umwelt-Sein. Mutterschaft, Entwicklung und Psychologie, 1930–1990 (Environmental Being. Motherhood, Development and Psychology, 1930-1990) (March 2021)


This article shows how environmental and ambient constructions were used to legitimate traditional gender roles in twentieth-century Europe and the United States. It demonstrates the normative and reactionary character of influential psychological and psychoanalytic theories of childhood and personality development, which instructed women to create, even embody social and emotional environments. This body of thought spanned diverse psychoanalytic schools and extended across generations of psychological experts. They put forth a notion of feminine “environmentality” postulating a woman’s disposition to create, even personify an environment that facilitated normal child development as well as a man’s professional success—and, ultimately, sustained the social order. This construction of women as essentially environmental beings bound them to matrimony and full-time, at-home motherhood, fixing their lives in space and time. It provided a powerful weapon against alternative life-styles and feminist critiques, suggesting that leading conceptions of development, well-being, and identity were not just androcentric, but indeed anti-feminist.

Associated with

Article Susanne Schmidt; Lisa Malich (March 2021) Cocooning: Umwelt und Geschlecht. Einleitung (Cocooning: Environment and Gender. Introduction). NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin (pp. 1-10). unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Gaard, Greta; (2013)
Toward a Feminist Postcolonial Milk Studies (/isis/citation/CBB001201819/)

Article Susanne Schmidt; Lisa Malich; (March 2021)
Cocooning: Umwelt und Geschlecht. Einleitung (Cocooning: Environment and Gender. Introduction) (/isis/citation/CBB402202147/)

Thesis Vicedo Castello, Maria Margarita; (2005)
The Maternal Instinct: Mother Love and the Search for Human Nature (/isis/citation/CBB001561576/)

Article Rutherford, Alexandra; Pettit, Michael; (2015)
Feminism and/in/as Psychology: The Public Sciences of Sex and Gender (/isis/citation/CBB001552610/)

Article Alexandra Rutherford; (2017)
“Making better use of U.S. women” Psychology, Sex Roles, and Womanpower in post-WWII America (/isis/citation/CBB508833050/)

Article Schulkin, Jay; (2007)
Curt Richter: Psychobiology and the Concept of Instinct (/isis/citation/CBB000774008/)

Thesis Frederickson, Kathleen; (2008)
The Content of Instinct: Fiction, Liberalism, and the Sciences of Sexuality,1870--1900 (/isis/citation/CBB001560658/)

Thesis More, Elizabeth Singer; (2012)
Best Interests: Feminists, Social Science, and the Revaluing of Working Mothers in Modern America (/isis/citation/CBB001567403/)

Article Smit, Harry; (2010)
Weismann, Wittgenstein and the Homunculus Fallacy (/isis/citation/CBB001023966/)

Article Kendra Smith-Howard; (April 2021)
Absorbing Waste, Displacing Labor: Family, Environment, and the Disposable Diaper in the 1970s (/isis/citation/CBB142919896/)

Book Vicedo, Marga; (2013)
The Nature and Nurture of Love: From Imprinting to Attachment in Cold War America (/isis/citation/CBB001213142/)

Article Vicedo, Marga; (2009)
Mothers, Machines, and Morals: Harry Harlow's Work on Primate Love from Lab to Legend (/isis/citation/CBB000932850/)

Article Nicholson, Ian A. M.; (2001)
Giving up Maleness: Abraham Maslow, Masculinity and the Boundaries of Psychology (/isis/citation/CBB000100105/)

Authors & Contributors
Vicedo, Marga
Rutherford, Alexandra
Cohen, Lizabeth
Kloppenberg, James
Malich, Lisa
Nicholson, Ian A. M.
History of Psychology
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
American Quarterly
Environmental History
Harvard University
University of Chicago Press
University of Chicago
Johns Hopkins University
Publications de l'Université de Provence
Mothers and children
Gender identity
Science and gender
Harlow, Harry Frederick
Maslow, Abraham Harold
Richter, Curt P.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig
Weismann, August
Ainsworth, Mary Dinsmore Salter
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
18th century
United States
Soviet Union

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment