Psychology of Democracy
Donald Winnicott, the great psychologist of early infancy, studied democracy from the psychological point of view. He said, among many other things, that the erosion of national boundaries, the idea of unchecked global flows, and the concept of a world government create extreme anxiety in psychologically healthy individuals. Boundaries are extremely important to a healthy psyche. The incapacity to tolerate boundaries is indicative of a whole host of psychopathologies. He wrote this back in 1949, or around that date, by the way.
Also, he said that the idea of a woman in the highest position of political power in democratic societies is perceived as disturbing by many psychologically healthy individuals. It subconsciously returns them to the earliest memories of when the mother was the all-powerful entity in their lives, holding the power of life and death over them. (The awareness of the father as a separate being from the mother develops at a later stage). The desire to judge female politicians at the highest level by a different standard is neither malicious nor malignant. It’s simply a reflection of the journey that a human psyche makes in the process of its formation.
To develop Winnicott’s idea, berating people for having these feelings reinforces the perception of their being in the presence of a scolding, disapproving mother. This is clearly counterproductive for a female politician. There is a whole field of study here waiting to be discovered that would come up with strategies to work with this reality instead of denouncing it.
Another thing he said is that societies with a great number of healthy, normal, happy families are better at democracy than societies where unhealthy family dynamics are prevalent.
These are just a few tiny observations on what is a complex and important work of a great psychologist.