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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Psychoanalysis and Anthropology

Course Code:
151802017
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1
This course is concerned with the relation between psychoanalysis and anthropology in its historical and methodological aspects. It examines the different ways that sychoanalytic theories have been applied to cultural phenomena by British, American and French anthropologists, together with a critique of the methodological processes involved.

The course will begin with a brief outline of psychoanalysis in relation to its social context and its proliferation into a variety of 'schools' in different national settings. The course thus aims to acquaint students with the basic theories and contested areas within psychoanalysis itself. Special attention will be paid to modifications in both the theory and technique of psychoanalysis when practiced as a therapy in non-European cultures such as India and Japan. 

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The learning outcomes for the course are the same:

  • An elementary knowledge of the major schools of psychoanalysis today (Freud, Klein, Lacan, Jung).
  • An exploration of the practice of psychoanalysis in non-Western countries (in particular India, Japan and South Korea).
  • A self-selected study of any one area in the field of psychoanalysis.

Scope and syllabus

Individual topics for study in any given year will be chosen according to the particular interests of students from among such subjects as the construction of gender, the construction of the self, child sexual abuse, the Oedipus complex, Jungian archetypes, mythology, dreams and so forth.

Method of assessment

The written exam will count for 70%. Coursework will count for 30% towards the final mark.

Suggested reading

Sample Readings:
  • R Appiganesi Freud for beginners (1992)
  • E Gellner The psychoanalytical movement (1985)
  • J Malcolm 'The patient is always right' in The New York Review of Books (1984, Vol xxxi, 20, Dec 20th)
  • M Shepherd Sherlock Holmes and the case of Dr Freud (1985)