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Bainbridge, C. Yates, C. (2011). Therapy Culture/Culture as Therapy: Psycho-Cultural Studies of Media and the Inner World. Free Associations, 12(2):i-v.

(2011). Free Associations, 12(2):i-v


Therapy Culture/Culture as Therapy: Psycho-Cultural Studies of Media and the Inner World

Caroline Bainbridge and Candida Yates

This special issue of Free Associations stems from the opening event held by the Media and the Inner World1 research network ( on the theme of ‘Therapy Culture/Culture as Therapy’.2 This research network, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK, was established in 2009 with a view to foregrounding the usefulness of object relations psychoanalysis in understanding the role of emotion in contemporary popular culture.3 In particular, the network sought to innovate by moving beyond the traditional academic working models of intellectual development. In order to do this, it turned to spheres of practice in which notions of feeling and emotion are centre-stage. On the one hand, it invited contributions from clinicians for whom psychoanalysis acts as a touchstone of their daily practice. On the other, it also set out to work with people based in media industries whose everyday currency of ideas increasingly depends on an emotional tenor that reflects the centrality of feeling and its representations in contemporary culture. In this way, the project as a whole embarked on a significant original agenda: to work with ideas from object relations psychoanalysis, in both its theoretical and practice-based forms, to shape new understandings of the role of the psychological in shaping the experience of subjectivity, politics, culture and society. The significance of the triadic approach, which harnessed together perspectives from both theory and practice and which underpinned the logic of the networking activities that took place as part of the project, has been crucial in forging the ‘psycho-cultural’ approach taken in the international selection of articles comprising this edition.


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