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Róheim, G. (1949). Technique of Dream Analysis and Field Work in Anthropology. Psychoanal Q., 18:471-479.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:471-479

Technique of Dream Analysis and Field Work in Anthropology

Géza Róheim, Ph.D.

In the American Anthropologist, Dorothy Eggan recently published a preliminary report on the psychoanalysis of a member of the Hopi tribe. It is to be hoped that the full text, with associations, will be published shortly. It will be a unique document for anthropology. It is noteworthy that, according to Eggan, no special knowledge of the culture is required to understand the dreams, a truly freudian, and not a 'culturalist' conclusion. She makes the same observation with regard to unconscious guilt among the Hopi.

In anthropology, the study of dreams has the variety of applications that it has in clinical analysis. The secondary elaboration of dreams has, for instance, detected for purely ethnographical purposes, customs that would otherwise never have come to light.

One cannot, however, quite agree with some of Eggan's aims and methods. Of her method of collecting dreams at a distance without direct contact or association material she writes: 'It was impossible to interview the informant immediately after each dream but this fact which at first was regarded as a handicap now seems to have certain advantages. For the entire body of the dreams now in our possession seems to indicate that the theme of a dream is seldom finished in one arrangement. Rather, dream mechanisms tend, even at the manifest level and over a varying period of time, to work on problems which are of more than passing concern to the individual.

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