Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To quickly go to the Table of Volumes from any article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To quickly go to the Table of Volumes from any article, click on the banner for the journal at the top of the article.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Craib, I. (1987). The psychodynamics of theory. Free Associations, 1(10):32-56.

(1987). Free Associations, 1(10):32-56

The psychodynamics of theory

Ian Craib

When I began this paper it was going to be a discussion of the way in which Freud's work has, over recent years, been incorporated into the social sciences. Not only was the idea interesting; it seemed to fit neatly into a wider project. But although it was interesting, it turned out to be too much of a distraction from pressing deadlines and I abandoned it in favour of a review of four books I had looked at as part of the original enterprise: Ilham Dilman's Freud and Human Nature and Freud and the Mind, and C. R. Badcock's The Psychoanalysis of Culture and Madness and Modernity. As I was starting work on this, it became caught up with an unexpected bout of self-questioning: what on earth was I doing reading all this? Did I think it was important or even interesting? What, anyway, could I possibly have to say about it?

All four books are concerned with big questions: the nature of human beings, of society and life in general, an area which I will refer to simply as theory, although some might prefer ‘metatheory’ or ‘philosophy’. I have spent most of my adult intellectual life in the world of theory, from my schoolboy conversion to Marxism onwards. For a long time I was comparatively happy, but over the last decade I have been slowly moving away from it, trying to develop other research interests and moving out of teaching theory and philosophy. As I work in what is still, despite the cutbacks, a comparatively large sociology department, such a shift seemed possible without causing too much disruption.

Last summer, however, circumstances seemed to be taking me in the opposite direction. I discovered that most of a particularly heavy teaching load next year, involving a great deal of time and commitment of intellectual energy, would involve theory.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.