Is Parent-Offspring Conflict Sex-Linked? Freudian and Darwinian Models
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Freud's Oedipal theory sees parent-offspring conflict as a within-gender rivalry, whereas most modern evolutionary models interpret it as a gender-blind disagreement about resource allocation. New analyses of family homicides and a critical review of prior evidence do not support the central Freudian claim of a same-sex contingency in parent-offspring antagonism during the Oedipal phase. Several errors of fact and interpretation in psychoanalytic theorizing about family relations are discussed. We argue that psychoanalysts mistake substantive conflicts between nonrelatives for symbolic manifestations of family conflicts.
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