Christine Morgenroth: Deciphering Political Utopias. Unions, Female Night Work, and Gender Justice [Abstract]
The group discussion is a qualitative method perfectly suited for analyzing attitudes and opinions at the supra-individual level and tracing the process of how they emerge. Psychoanalytic group theories expand our understanding of group processes by adding the dimension of the unconscious: groups, too, display defense reactions and forms of repression. By adding this dimension, we can show how social groups proceed to collectively relegate important issues to the realm of the unconscious. In this way, social defense processes are reproduced in actu. In group discussions involving female union members, the predicament of working mothers comes to the fore particularly clearly. An excerpt from a group discussion illustrates that the women seem to perceive night work as the only realistic solution to the problem of reconciling work and family. Only when we turn to a psychoanalytic hermeneutics of scenic understanding are we able to reveal a repressed conception of life looming behind the paradoxical demand: the desire to overcome the separation of productive and reproductive labor in the lives of both sexes; a desire that can only be achieved if labor unions, too, perceive gender relations as a political challenge demanding their attention.