All the Mothers Are One: Hindu India and the Cultural Reshaping of Psychoanalysis / Edition 1

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Based on the author's ethnographic research in India, the book explores the psychology of Hinduism, and offers an innovative synthesis of psychoanylsis with modern anthropological theories of cultural difference. Stanley N. Kurtz offers a new interpretation of the multiple "mother goddesses" of Hinduism, and explores how this multiplicity is key to understanding early childhood experience in which a child is raised by many "mothers" in the Hindu joint family.

Arguing that traditional psychoanalytic approaches to Indian culture have applied Western models without regard to differing cultural circumstances, Kurtz suggests that immersion in a joint family plays a central role in the development of feelings and needs which are carried over into adult life. The book concludes with a briefr comparison of mothering in India and contemporary America. All the Mothers Are One makes a significant contribution to the growing debate concerning the role of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of culture and the study of cross-cultural human development.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Gilbert Herdt
This book will take its place as a distinguished ethnography in the growing debate not only on the role of psychoanalytic thought in the interpretation of culture but also on the study of the symbolic forms of early childhood experience in a non-Western culture.
Robert A. Levine
Kurtz's meticulous scholarship and psychoanalytic interpretations are...presented in a lively style of writing that is very accessible and holds one's extremely interesting work as well as an original contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding of Hinduism.
An anthropologically informed psychoanalysis of Hindu culture, revealing a "new" goddess discovered during the field work, not a separate entity, but, like all goddesses, the multiple identities of a single, comprehensive Mother Goddess. Traces the conception to the Hindu experience of being raised by many mothers, and investigates the implications for Western notions of self. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231078696
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1992
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley N. Kurtz recently received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University and is currently a Fellow of the Committee on Human Development and the Center for Research on Culture and Mental Health at the University of Chicago.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration
Ch. 1 Introduction: God in a Stone 1
Ch. 2 Santoshi Ma Dissolved--the Goddess Constituted 13
Ch. 3 Psychoanalytic Approaches to Hindu Child Rearing: A Critique 29
Ch. 4 Renunciation on the Way to the Group: A New Approach to Early Hindu Childhood 55
Ch. 5 The Ek-Hi Phase 91
Ch. 6 The Durga Complex 133
Ch. 7 Clinical Psychoanalysis in India: Toward a New Reading 177
Ch. 8 South Asia and Beyond: Obeyesekere and Spiro 221
Ch. 9 Toward a Cultural Reshaping of Psychoanalysis 245
Notes 267
References 285
Index 297
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