Frank Plumpton Ramsey and the Politics of Motherhood

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Abstract
This paper is an attempt to historicize Frank Plumpton Ramsey’s Apostle talks delivered from 1923 to 1925 within the social and political context of the time. In his talks, Ramsey discusses socialism, psychoanalysis, and feminism. Ramsey’s views on these three intellectual movements were inter-connected, and they all contributed to his take on the then policy debates on the role of women in economy. Drawing on some archival materials, biographical facts, and the historiographical literature on the early inter-war politics of motherhood, I show that Ramsey held a positive view of the feminist campaign for family endowment. He demanded government financial support for motherhood in recognition of the economic significance of women’s domestic works and as what could bring economic independence to them. In addition, he found such economic scheme compatible with the kind of maternalism endorsed by Freudian psychoanalysis – his favorite theory of psychology.
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Archival date: 2022-01-02
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