Once Upon a Time…

Once Upon a Time…

Every socialist knows how to fantasize; it comes with the territory. Even reading the newspaper becomes an exercise in imagining what should be rather than what is.

But who develops the capacity to fantasize and who doesn’t? What—beyond genes and early experiences in the family—shapes a child so that in later life she or he hopes for a better future and can act on that hope?

Michael Rustin, a sociologist and contributor to Dissent, and Margaret Rustin, child psychotherapist and senior tutor at the Tavistock Clinic in London, explore these questions in their fine book, Narratives of Love and Loss. They point out that in the twentieth century, Western society has made childhood into a field of social practice that includes schooling, publishing, family policy, and therapy. Along with the primary experience of the family, each of these influences the development of the personal self.

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