Researching Affect and Psychosocial Studies

For those interested in psychosocial approaches to research, this video series I just stumbled across will be of interest. It’s from a seminar series which was jointly organised by people from Cardiff University and City University a few years ago. It aimed to “bring recent interest in affect with older traditions, especially those developed in relation to psychoanalysis, thus bringing different traditions of work into dialogue with each other“. I’ve included a quick snippet of Wendy Hollway below – you can find the full selection of videos here.

I personally find this incorporation of psychoanalytic concepts deeply problematic in terms of both their application outside of clinical settings and the far from clear meta-theoretical criteria upon which this quasi-psychoanalytical toolbox is constructed. But I also find it very interesting and, if I’m correct in my understanding of what motivates it, I’m largely persuade by the underlying direction of the travel i.e. the need to recover the individual as an explanatory variable within social research without construing the subject in a rationalistic and/or self-transparent fashion. I’m just sceptical about the method adopted, effectively amounting to the psychoanalytic reading of a socially situated subject – peering into the inner depths of concrete individuals. It doesn’t solve the underlying problem of how individual and society (agency/structure, micro/macro, subjectivity/objectivity etc) are interconnected – instead it just ‘drills down’ into one side of the dichotomy.

Categories: Rethinking The World

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