Sociology and Psychoanalysis: The Hobbesian Problem Revisited

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A social psychologist dissatisfied with the oversocialized conceptions of man which predominate in sociology may well seek in the psychoanalytic theory of the instincts a countervailing individuality and a hard core of human nature as a basis for resistance to social determinism and relativism. Nevertheless, man appears to be a "denatured" and symbolling, rather than an instinctual creature. The mechanistic and biologistic psychoanalytic metapsychology has obscured Freud's central discovery of the unconscious dimensions of man's reality-constructing activity. Intrapsychic conflict and man's resistance to socialization arise not from any clash between nature (instinct) and culture (civilization), but from contradictions between conscious and unconscious fantasies and among the varying projects and definitions related to different moments of a person's biography. While social psychologists need to be reminded of man's unconscious symbolic action and interaction, psychoanalysts must be recalled (perhaps by the followers of Mead, as well as by disciples of Lacan) to the essentially semiotic character of their enterprise. In both disciplines the task is hermeneutic more than ontological: our aim is less to reveal Reality than to describe our varying (personal and social) "realities" and their expression in the myths and metaphors we live by -- consciously, preconsciously and unconsciously. /// Un psychologue social insatisfait des conceptions sursocialisées de l'homme qui prédominent en sociologie peut très bien chercher dans la théorie psychanalytique des instincts une individualité compensatoire, un noyau dur de nature humaine comme base de résistance au déterminisme et relativisme social. Néanmoins, l'homme paraît un être "dénaturé" et vivant de symboles plutôt qu'un être d'instinct. La métapsychologie psychanalytique (mecaniste et "biologitique") a obscurci la découverte centrale de Freud de la dimension inconsciente de l'activité constructive du réel de l'homme. Les conflits intra-psychiques et la résistance de l'homme à la socialisation proviennent non pas d'une opposition entre la nature (l'instinct) et la culture (la civilisation), mais de contradictions entre des fantasmes conscients et inconscients et entre les divers projets et définitions liés aux différents moments de la vie d'une personne. Alors que l'on doit rappeler aux psychologues sociales l'importance chez l'homme des actions et interactions symboliques inconscientes il faut rappeler aux psychanalystes (et c'est peut être la tâche des élèves de Mead comme des disciples de Lacan) le caractère essentiellement sémiotique de leur entreprise. Dans les deux disciplines la tâche est davantage herméneutique plutôt qu'ontologique: notre but est moins de révéler le Réalité mais plutôt de décrire nos réalités changeantes (personnelles et sociales) et leur expression dans les mythes et métaphores dans lesquels nous vivions -- consciemment, préconsciemment et inconsciemment.

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... Die soziale Organisation methodischen Verhaltens vermittelt sich über Bilder und theoriegeleitete Metaphoriken. Carveth (1984Carveth ( a, 1984 zeigt, daß solche Bilder nicht nur das Denken, sondern auch das soziale Handeln 15 determinieren; ein wissenschaftlicher Streit, bei dem die Gegner »auf den Punkt zielen«, sich »das Wasser abgraben«, einander »den Boden wegziehen«, wird als eine Art kriegerischer Auseinandersetzung inszeniert. Carveth weist jedoch darauf hin, daß es auch Kulturen gibt, in denen ein Streit eher als »Tanz« aufgefaßt wird und die Beiträge der Protagonisten hinsichtlich ihrer ästhetischen »performance« beurteilt werden -hier organisieren die kulturellen Metaphern Wahrnehmen und Handeln 16 . ...
... Die soziale Organisation methodischen Verhaltens vermittelt sich über Bilder und theoriegeleitete Metaphoriken. Carveth (1984Carveth ( a, 1984 zeigt, daß solche Bilder nicht nur das Denken, sondern auch das soziale Handeln 15 determinieren; ein wissenschaftlicher Streit, bei dem die Gegner »auf den Punkt zielen«, sich »das Wasser abgraben«, einander »den Boden wegziehen«, wird als eine Art kriegerischer Auseinandersetzung inszeniert. Carveth weist jedoch darauf hin, daß es auch Kulturen gibt, in denen ein Streit eher als »Tanz« aufgefaßt wird und die Beiträge der Protagonisten hinsichtlich ihrer ästhetischen »performance« beurteilt werden -hier organisieren die kulturellen Metaphern Wahrnehmen und Handeln 16 . ...
... Das Ausmaß seines Geschicks wird dann in der empirischen Forschung Gegenstand der Erforschung von Variablen des Therapeuten-Verhaltens. In ihren interpretativen Akten betätigen sich die Mitglieder des Personals als mundane Forscher, sie realisieren eine mundane Forschungsstrategie. Von dieser ist die des qualitativen Forschers, folgt man Pollner, nicht substantiell verschieden, sondern nur um eine Ebene; eine Verschiebung, die der von Carveth (1984) vorgeschlagenen entspricht. Die Fragestellung ist nicht die einer ironischen Forschungsstrategie, ob »gute« Therapie gemacht wird; die Frage lautet vielmehr, wie die Mitglieder der Institution durch ihre Interpretationen, Handlungen und Entscheidungen Therapie als eine soziale Tatsache hervorbringen und organisieren. ...
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The neglect of institutional codetermination in therapeutic decisions is exposed as a desiderative in research. Qualitative approaches as developed in the social sciences must come to grips with the social unconscious institutional procedures; therapy is proposed to be considered as a social event. Thus Reality Work is viewed as field and object of qualitative research in clinical institutions, a concept close to ethnographic and social constructionist approaches. The generative techniques (as dissonance reduction, narrative transformations and selection of rules of discourse) institutions use for the establishment of their social-emotional integration are illustrated by examples; they are instruments to produce a processible image of the patient. Images thus generated rule treatment, they can be formulated as metaphors und looked for at different levels.
... Let us also recall that Freud wrote, "For sociology too, dealing as it does with the behavior of people in society, cannot be anything but applied psychology" (Taft 1933:179). As contemporary social psychologist Donald Carveth (1984) notes, there has always been a social or object-relational component to psychoanalysis and it cannot be otherwise. 10 Despite the relationship between the social and psychological, sociologists as a group have been uninterested in questions of internality, let alone psychoanalysis. ...
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This paper contends that sociotherapy, a sociologically informed approach to therapy, is a viable alternative to the diagnostic model recognized by the College of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario (CRPO). The Psychotherapy Act (2007) along with the Regulated Health Professions Act (1991) gives the CRPO authorization to regulate the practice of psychotherapy and to control titles affiliated with the act of psychotherapy. I offer a discussion of sociotherapy and socioanalysis as clinical alternatives to the conservative and normalizing approaches endorsed by the College. I situate sociotherapy and socioanalysis in the discipline of sociology and in relation to Freudian psychoanalysis. I offer my own sociotherapeutic practice as an illustration of how the societal and the psychological, the social, and the psychic must be engaged in concert. I underscore the importance of dialogue, as opposed to diagnostics, interpretation as opposed to assessments and psychosocial contemplation as opposed to cognitive-behavioral treatment in clinical practice.
... Despite their conflicting political and evaluative stances, both theoretical perspectives focused on Freud's contributions to solving "the Hobbesian problem of order," 9 thereby narrowing the scope of Freud's social thought and often distorting his core concepts (Abramson 1986, 2-4;Benjamin 1977;Berliner 1983, 78, 166-167;Carveth 1977Carveth , 1982Gay 1988, 546;Halton 1992, 52-53;Homans 1989, 109-111;Kaye 1991;Kolakowski 1975;Parsons [1952Parsons [ ] 1970Riesman 1954, 351-352;Smelser 1998, 221;Weinstein and Weinstein 1979;Wrong 1976). Treating Freudian "repression" as internalized social "oppression" or "suppression," Critical Theorists managed to preserve their revolutionary hopes for ultimate liberation, but at the cost of trivializing Freud's thought (Adorno 1967, 75;1968, 79, 84;Benjamin 1977, 46, 55;Castoriadis 1987, 311;1997, 133, 187;Dahmer 1987, 400;Habermas 1971, 223, 228, 243, 258;1985, 212;Kaye 1991;Marcuse 1966, 8, 16, 32-33, 57, 92, 110, 159, 197). ...
... For instance, the subject that to Foucault (1970) is supposed to be "dead," decentered, or dissolved by the structuralist's analysis-rather than being a meaningful theoretical concept-is simply an empty place in the discourse adopted by a locutor (Benveniste, 1968;Funt, 1973;Parker, 1994). The problem of building a bridge between psychoanalysis and sociology and the reason why most attempts to achieve any meaningful dialectical synthesis of individual and society have failed is related, according to Carveth (1982), to a false dichotomy that that has been introduced between the self and society and the private and public. To treat the social as a reified "thing" that is independent of its members-or as a set of individuals who are the subject of psychoanalytic understanding-or to view the social as an enormous individual with its own unconscious, core conflicts, and defenses will not get us out of a discourse in which the individual is defined in opposition to the social: as two independent, self-contained entities interacting antagonistically, each subject to its own laws (Parker, 2003). ...
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In this essay, I show how arbitrary the disciplinary boundary is between psychoanalysis and sociology, how psychoanalysis can complement sociology, how structural analysis in one discipline needs the other to explain its causal efficacy, how symbolic interaction relates to psychoanalysis, and how many psychoanalytic concepts—including the analytic situation—can be expressed in sociological language. My analysis is a form of deconstruction of social fact versus the social subject: searching for the “psyche” in the discourse of “social” is the idea of deconstruction. Deconstruction exposes the conceptual tension between the arbitrary categories of individual versus society, personal troubles and public issues, or psychoanalytic versions of the individual mind and the individual life.
FULL THESIS TEXT AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE This thesis explores the development of twentieth century International Relations (IR) Theory in connection with the history of the Psychological Disciplines. The main contention is that the concepts and frameworks developed by IR theorists throughout the 20th century were centrally informed by categories derived from the psychological disciplines across distinct eras. The argument has important implications for the historiographies of IR and the psychological disciplines, as well as implications for how one can approach intellectual history regarding the 20th century human sciences more broadly. The argument develops in three stages: 1) an introduction regarding how the thesis approaches the historical study of human scientific ideas via the notion of ‘Implicit Psychologies’; 2) three central case-studies that explore the work of central IR figures from different eras; and 3) a conclusion section which draws out new implications for the histories of IR, the psychological disciplines, and intellectual history in general. The introductory first stage of the argument develops the concept of Implicit Psychologies as a frame for understanding the history of the 20th century human sciences. It will discuss how an Implicit Psychologies approach was derived from the simple observation that theories in the human sciences, by definition, rely upon psychological categories implicitly pervading their intellectual landscape. The second stage of the argument applies the Implicit Psychologies approach to unpack the history of IR in detail. Focusing on three core figures representing different eras of IR theory – E.H. Carr, Kenneth Waltz, and Alexander Wendt – the thesis opens up their bibliographical networks and provides a rich new perspective upon both their individual works and the trajectory of the field as a whole. Finally, the third, concluding stage draws out the important implications for the history of IR, the history of psychology, and the history of ideas in general visà-vis the social sciences.
Using as illustrative “case study”, the South African state and its foreign relations, the research project proposes an exploratory investigation of the motives underlying state actions. Broadly, the research sets itself the objective of exploring how and why South Africa as state-person justifies certain behaviours, that are often seen as harmful or contrary to its national interest, in the conduct of its international affairs. Taking on a statist-approach to understanding the conduct of foreign affairs, the research will build on established theories in IR scholarship – notably on constructivist theory – and will draw on theories from outside the discipline to address unresolved shortcomings in this theoretical school. Studying the state’s subjective Self presents a unique challenge, in that states cannot be interviewed in the fashion of ethnographic or clinical research. As such, the project proposes a qualitative study of discourses on South African foreign relations dating as far back as 1994, and relies on a diverse set of empirical sources including national policies and other official documents issued by the government on behalf of the state, as well as individual speeches and declarations by key South African political elites. The grounded theory method employed in the research is supported by Foucauldian discourse analysis, which outlines strategies and offers tools for studying the ways in which subjects construct realities and act into the external world through symbolic representations that mediate inner- and outer worlds.
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Begins the process of building the foundation of a "psychoanalytic social psychology" by drawing on E. Erikson's (1958, 1963, 1968) theory of psychic structure and going beyond his theory to develop empirically testable propositions regarding how the psyche is related to culture. These propositions constitute starting points for cross-cultural explanations regarding the basic relationships between cultural institutions and psychic development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
"One of the key texts of Malraux's work . . . [its] pages must be counted among the most haunting in all of twentieth century literature."—Victor Brombert "The description of the gas attack on the Russian front in 1915 will never be forgotten by anyone who has read it. . . . [Malraux] writes with the precision, the certitude and the authority of an obsessed person who knows that he has found the essence of what he has been looking for."—Conor Cruise O'Brien, from the Foreword Malraux's greatest novel, Man's Fate, gave a grim, lurid picture of human suffering. [The Walnut Trees of Altenburg], written by a life-long observer of violent upheaval and within the shadows of World War II, gives a calm, thoughtful vision of humanistic endeavor that can transcend the absurdity of existence. Mature readers will find this a rewarding visit to one of the most accomplished writers of our time."—Choice
This paper outlines the psychoanalytic techniques derived from ego psychology-object relations theory. It stresses the centrality of affects to interpretation and describes how the focus on dominant object relations in the transference modifies the economic, dynamic, and structural criteria for interpretation. Clinical examples illustrate this technique across a broad spectrum of psychopathology. The technique for genetic constructions and reconstructions in the transference is described, and this approach is contrasted with other object relations theories. Finally, the application of this approach to countertransference and dream analysis is summarized.
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