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Françoise Dolto and her legacy
Author: Richard Bates

In Psychoanalysis and the family, Richard Bates reveals the striking range and extent of the influence of Françoise Dolto (1908–88) – child psychoanalyst and France’s leading authority on parenting and family dynamics from the 1970s onwards.

Against the backdrop of rapid economic, social and cultural change, Dolto emerged as a new, reassuring, national presence. Seen as a national treasure, her views proved influential on a wide range of issues linked to psychology, parenting, education, gender, sexuality, bioethics and children’s culture and rights. Dolto claimed the mantle of a progressive, innovative expert who swept away outdated concepts – but Bates demonstrates that her ideas in fact had deep roots in right-wing, anti-feminist currents. Dolto used her media platforms and the cultural authority of psychoanalysis to ensure that her psychoanalytic vision affected the whole French nation and was implanted in a variety of institutional settings. Bates shows how her vision had lasting repercussions, in areas ranging from the treatment of autism to the organisation of children’s centres.

In demonstrating Dolto’s importance, this highly original, thoroughly researched book makes an essential contribution to historical understanding of twentieth-century French society. It forces a reassessment of the place of psychoanalysis in French social history, showing that its true significance lay well beyond the academic seminar or the consulting room.

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Doltomania
Richard Bates

book written by the woman she was writing to – Françoise Dolto – the nurse was no longer in despair. Reading the book, ‘it was as if for the first time, after so many years, someone finally truly spoke to me … To know that you are there, and that you understand so many things, filled me with new hope’, she wrote. ‘I now cling to you with all my strength.’ 1 The nurse was not the only person to feel this way. From the 1970s until the end of the twentieth century and arguably beyond, Dolto was an important figure in the French

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
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Psychoanalysis in the public sphere, 1968–88
Richard Bates

, 1518, 30 June 1978. 11 Kuhn, Media , pp. 77–80; Chaplin, Turning on the Mind , pp. 50, 115. 12 Christian Brochand, Histoire générale de la radio et de la télévision en France 2, 1944–1974 (Paris: La Documentation française, 1994), pp. 154–5. 13 Cited in Robert Prot, Précis d’histoire de la radio et de la télévision (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007), p. 181. 14 Françoise Dolto (‘Docteur X’), S

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
Dolto, psychoanalysis and Catholicism from Occupation to Liberation
Richard Bates

Françoise Dolto, ‘Françoise Dolto: Ma vie et la psychanalyse’, in Antoine Hess, Les Analystes parlent (Paris: Belfond, 1981), p. 100. 48 See Andrés Horacio Reggiani, God’s Eugenicist: Alexis Carrel and the Sociobiology of Decline (Oxford: Berghahn, 2006). 49 Alain Drouard, Alexis Carrel (1873–1944): De la mémoire à l’histoire (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1995), p. 206. See also Drouard, Une inconnue des sciences sociales: la Fondation Alexis Carrel, 1941

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
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Dolto in the twenty-first century
Richard Bates

as Françoise Dolto was felt to be an anticonformist and a destroyer of received ideas’. 25 For Labosse, and doubtless for other people in similar situations, it was not just Dolto’s ideas themselves that were harmful, but the fact that her reputation as progressive and enlightened made it so much harder to dismiss them as outdated and reactionary. Attacking Dolto’s national treasure status has thus arguably been somewhat necessary, in order to diminish the credibility of such prejudices. In this book I have sought not so

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
Dolto and the psychoanalytic approach to autism in France
Richard Bates

idea that definitively ended with the publication of Anti-Oedipus . 58 Via Lacan, the ideas behind institutional psychotherapy spread into the psychoanalytic movement. This is particularly evident in the writings of Maud Mannoni (1923–98). A product of the Belgian Psychoanalytic Society, Mannoni moved to Paris after World War II and quickly came under Dolto’s wing. ‘Françoise Dolto welcomed me like a member of the family’, Mannoni later recalled. 59 It was Dolto who introduced Maud to her future husband, Octave

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
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Psychoanalysis in interwar France
Richard Bates

. 34 Françoise Dolto, La Cause des enfants (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1985), pp. 373–4. 35 Henri Claude, ‘Quelques considérations sur la psychanalyse’, Journal médical français , 22:4 (1933), 107–8. 36 On Marie Bonaparte’s place in the SPP, see Roudinesco, Bataille , 1, p. 328; Célia Bertin, Marie Bonaparte, A Life (New York: Harcourt, 1982), Chs 7 and 8. 37 Angelo Hesnard, Édouard Pichon and Georges Politzer

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
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Popularising psychoanalysis, 1945–68
Richard Bates

). 12 Madame Vérine, ‘La Famille’, in André Bellessort and Raymond Postal (eds), France 1941: La Révolution nationale constructive, un bilan et un programme (Paris: Alsatia, 1941), p. 197. See Muel-Dreyfus, Vichy et l’éternel féminin , pp. 181–4. 13 Ohayon, L’Impossible Rencontre , p. 189. 14 I explore this further in my article ‘Democratic Babies? Françoise Dolto, Benjamin Spock and the Ideology of Postwar Parenting Advice’, Journal of

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
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Françoise breaks free?
Richard Bates

between the Wars , pp. 48–9. 74 See Dolto, Cause des enfants , pp. 399–400. 75 Dolto, Autoportrait , pp. 124–5. 76 Ibid. , and ‘Traversée du siècle’, in Yann Potin (ed.), Françoise Dolto, archives de l’intime (Paris: Gallimard, 2008), p. 118. The fee-paying lycée ’s collusion is possibly explained by a desire to retain their pupil, and thus her fees, for another year. 77 Dolto, Enfances , p. 78

in Psychoanalysis and the family in twentieth-century France
Exploring the words of young people
Sarah Leahy and Isabelle Vanderschelden

school to find a cast of nonprofessional actors. He chose a multicultural school on the edge of Paris, the Collège Françoise Dolto in the 20th district. In the winter of 2006–7, a group of pupils attended weekly theatre workshops for six months, developing improvisation techniques and acting out assigned situations using their own words. These sessions also enabled Cantet and Campillo to develop a new

in Screenwriters in French cinema