Relational Cultural Theory

Copyright (c) 2012 Morgan D

Relational cultural theory (RCT) emanates from the perform of Jean Baker Miller and is integrated into the feminist and multicultural movements in psychology. The theory embraces elements of social injustices from these movements with a significant focus on relationships. The RCT theorists argue that relationships are the healing mechanism in psychotherapy as effectively as indicators for mental wellness and wellness (Robb, 2006). The theory is mostly focused on females and their relational experiences like the experiences narrated by Somaly Mam (2009). On the other hand, Paolo Freire (2000) presents the methods and principles of teaching that an individual ought to cultivate relationships primarily based on every day life circumstances that supply beneficial learning experiences. This essay is aimed at integrating the ideas of connection or alliance from the performs of relational cultural theorists primarily based on Somaly Mam’s and Paolo Freire’s functions.

According to relational cultural theorists, inequality is social and personal view, and for this case males belong to the dominant group while girls belong to subordinate group. Interestingly, each males and women expertise, psychologically, the sense of inequality. This is in line with Frère’s position that both the oppressor and the oppressed are dehumanized. For this case, the oppressed females need to establish their own center independent man, and derive their personal power by means of connection with other girls and individuals of excellent will. Miller highlights, in his book, the fact that social strength in females is so weak that it robs them an chance to attain complete empowerment.

As per Miller’s Relational cultural theory, females need to not ignore other females when they match into the world of men. This is the get in touch with that Mam harkens to when she goes back to the brothels of Cambodia to liberate sex slaves and embank on exposing the moral underbelly behind commercial sex sector. By writing about her experiences as a microcosmic picture of the experiences of a million girls, Mam is searching for for real progress highlighted by Miller. The theory is clear that females ought to not turn out to be like men, but the society ought to seek humanization and enable integration of women’s strength on a larger scale . In assistance of this, Freire argued that the oppressed are not liberated by oppressing their former oppressors. Since both the oppressor and the oppressed are dehumanized, any reversal scenario will not resolve the problem.

In her function, Mam recounts her childhood years when she endured horrific physical and sexual violence in the hands of her supposed grandfather and contemporary-day slave owners. The book narrates her experiences as a brothel worker in the commercial sex business till she married a French man. With each other with her Frenchman, Mam moved to France exactly where she discovered French and gained work experience. Mam state that the predicament in Cambodia has turn out to be worse and the brothels have grown bigger and a lot more violent. We uncover women chained to sewers. Girls come to us beaten half to death. They are so young. Increasingly we see that the meebons have addicted them to drugs so they will not even attempt to escape. They have marks that are worse than something I have ever endured. (p.166) Mam is aware that she could not adjust the globe, but at least she can do something. The partnership among the oppressed and the oppressor is brutal and violent (Mam, 2009). Females experiences and their relation to men, who terrorize and expedite violence and sexual exploitation, are signs of dehumanization (Freire, 2000). This partnership inheres in both those who are dehumanized and those who dehumanizing and hence distorting the procedure of both becoming humane (Freire, 2000). Freire has it that oppressor’s consciousness transforms every thing about it to an object of dominion, which includes other human beings. This might be observed in the case of Mam, exactly where the dominant males, like his supposed grandfather sold her to slavery and later to commercial sex sector as he would sell a goat or some other object of worth.

In addition, the sex business is established to satiate the pleasures of men. Males and girls, in this case, are in dominant versus dominated relationship. Freire (2000), analyses that this materialistic culture is anchored on the belief that life is about possessing, and to be in the class that possesses. The relational cultural fact about the oppressed versus the oppressor is examined by Freire in that even though oppression dehumanizes each parties, the oppressed should lead the liberation of each parties.

Even so, he warns that when the oppressed seek to regain their humanity from their oppressors, they need to not dehumanize the oppressors but rather seek to restore humanity to both (Freire, 2000). This is almost certainly where he may possibly lock horns with the writings of Mam, who has accomplished the oppressor a lot of dehumanization by describing the events of her experiences and that of other folks in an exaggerated manner. Miller (1986), argued that this exaggeration marks a period of dispelling falsities, which brings forward the experiences of the oppressed to the oppressor and to the rest of the world. Nonetheless, in undertaking so, the experiences of the dominant group are obscured and downgraded. For that reason, liberation cannot be accomplished if the oppressed becomes the oppressor, but can be accomplished by generating a new globe of human beings who are all involved in the approach of liberation (Miller, 1986).

According to Freire, the procedure of alliance is not informed by a particular person or a messiah. As opposed to in the style of Mam, who comes out to call for the banning of modern-day slavery through exposition of violence, brutal acts and emotive campaigns, Freire stands with the fact that the union will be achieved if the oppressed and the oppressor recognize that liberation will advantage both sides. This liberation need to involve interaction so that the two uncover a globe rather of adopting it. All through her book, Mam adopts a brutal voice that gives the reader her opinion of the oppressor. Under this point of view of distrust for the oppressor, humility and continuous dialogue cannot be established. This, as a result, hinders the relationship that need to be established amongst the oppressor and the oppressed.


Freire’s work seems to come after Mam’s perform in addressing the relational culture theory in that he desires an individual to develop himself rather than becoming produced. Mam’s work, on the other hand, seeks to show the violent and oppressive relation that men and women have in the modern-day slavery and how this relation offers birth to lifelong painful experiences in women. Although Freire believed that the education of the oppressor ought to not be adopted by the oppressed, Mam’s work is enough evidence that the oppressed can use the structures the oppressor establishes to liberate himself or herself

According to relational cultural theory, discussed by Miller, an oppressed particular person like a woman will do a noble act by attempting to liberate other folks whenever she fits into the position of the oppressors. This can not be achieved unless the oppressed raises to the requirements of the oppressor via established structures like education. This way, Freire is at odds with the relational culture theory. Each Freire and Mam agree in their functions that at least the oppressed has to come out and bring about his or liberation collectively with that of other folks in the group. For the oppressive and violent relation to be at equilibrium, the oppressor and the oppressed need to establish a new world where they embrace 1 an additional.

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