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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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... 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). ...
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