Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To go directly to an article using its bibliographical details…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you know the bibliographic details of a journal article, use the Journal Section to find it quickly. First, find and click on the Journal where the article was published in the Journal tab on the home page. Then, click on the year of publication. Finally, look for the author’s name or the title of the article in the table of contents and click on it to see the article.

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

Cobley, P. (1996). Self-analysis: some difficulties in psychoanalytic approaches to popular culture. Free Associations, 6(2):297-309.

(1996). Free Associations, 6(2):297-309

Self-analysis: some difficulties in psychoanalytic approaches to popular culture

Paul Cobley

From the outset psychoanalysts have been very wary of the way popular culture presents therapy: from Freud's reluctance to become involved in the project which eventually became G. W. Pabst's film Secrets of a Soul, to the recent statements on the musical Freudiana.1 However, it would appear that popular culture has itself often had a cause for grievance in the way it has been treated by psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysts have relentlessly demonstrated a penchant for analysing popular texts in order to emphasize the tenability of one or another subdivision of clinical theory. In most cases, such work represents a sincere attempt to engage with arguments regarding the way in which texts function. However, the key problem of psychoanalytic approaches to texts—even when utilized by clinicians with a professed love of popular culture—is that they underestimate the material that they scrutinize. Paradoxically, those clinicians most guilty of these charges clearly wish to illustrate the ‘surprising complexity’ of popular texts, often in the tradition of ‘classic’ psychoanalytic studies. As we will see, it is the continuity of psychoanalytic approaches to ‘high’ and ‘popular culture’ which constitutes the crucial stumbling block in their attempt to apprehend the nature of textuality. We will argue that there are often questionable aims involved in the application of psychoanalytic principles to texts and that many psychoanalytic approaches utilize a range of theoretically souped-up propositions that have been thoroughly discredited within the discipline of nonpsychoanalytic textual analysis.

One initial observation that must be made is that psychoanalytic textual analyses seem to be self-perpetuating.

[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 © 2019, 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.