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Eden, A. (2019). Social Dreaming, Associative Thinking and Intensities of Affect, by Julian Manley, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 19(2):282-285.

(2019). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 19(2):282-285

Book Review

Social Dreaming, Associative Thinking and Intensities of Affect, by Julian Manley, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

Review by:
Angela Eden


Manley says that social dreaming is “ineludibly esoteric”, and yes, in many ways, it is. Accordingly it is a pleasure to have this book and be able to use it as a guide through the esoteric, to a clearer understanding of social dreaming. Those who have experienced being in a matrix are often moved by the interrelatedness of the dreams. Others find the experience interesting but, “so what?”. This book is supportive in answering that question. Even though there are many other books that elucidate the mystery of the matrix, Manley's contribution is a timely addition to the social dreaming community and psychosocial studies. I found the ideas in this book an effective route into considering the language, affect, and associative-thinking created by social dreaming.

I wrote this review not as an academic who might be cognisant of those psychosocial theories, but as a practising member and host of many matrices over the last twenty years. The structure of the book is clear and takes readers through a wide-ranging theoretical base to a deeper understanding. Manley travels across a huge intellectual landscape, and each stage of the journey links and loops across each chapter. It is as if he has created a rhizomatic map that feeds and recreates new ideas. This is reinforced by the generous introduction from Lita Crociana-Windland. She places the context of the work within the arguments of Deleuzian theory and the link to the psychosocial. This emphasises the value of social dreaming in reconnecting the unconscious to a wider social relatedness. At the end of her introduction she leaves us with the image of a murmuration of starlings, which is an amazing sight—a swooping mass of thousands of birds whirling through the sky. It is a way of imagining the ebb and flow of dreams in a matrix, and an affective connection that moves us into the heart of the debate.

The Book

Whilst reading the book, I formulated another metaphor. The text became a map for the journey through Julian Manley's landscape of thoughts. I was carefully guided through Gordon Lawrence's (1998) initial thinking to a sophisticated network of concepts.

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