Jeremy Cohan, Roberta Garner & Black Hawk Hancock, Julia Hahn and Gary Walls, with Bernard Harcourt
Psychology and sociology ask the same question—Why do people act as they do? Their more critical traditions both begin from the shared premise that human beings are less free than they know, and that this awareness is crucial for their future liberation. But what precisely is the relationship between perspectives that begin with the society and its tendencies and those that begin with the individual and her stymied desires? Freud admitted in his Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego that, insofar as the individual develops in a world of others—both within, and outside of the family—individual psychoanalysis is always already social. Many social analysts have reached toward psychoanalysis, often by marrying Marx and Freud, to understand how modern social structures of domination are reproduced rather than overcome. But is there really a problem with the rationalistic psychology assumed in most social research? What is so terrible about bracketing socio-historical conditions in psychological practice? Short presentations on previous attempts to think through this interrelation—in the Frankfurt School, Irving Goffman, Foucault, and political psychoanalysts—will help us think about how today to address: How deep does society go? What maintains the world as it is? Is consciousness possible?
Educational objectives: At the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to: 1) Describe several different approaches to the relationship of sociology and psychology; 2) Assess the relevance of sociological approaches to their clinical practice; and 3) Utilize sociological thinking in reflection on case histories.