Uncovering the Unconscious in Psychosocial Research


This case study will demonstrate how psychoanalysis can enable the sociological researcher to reveal another level of understanding of emotional experience that is often missed out in the traditional social science interview. A psychosocial approach takes into account narrative construction but goes beyond this to access to the unconscious thoughts, motivations, feelings, fears, and desires of the participant. The case study will introduce some of the key psychoanalytic tools that can be useful to social scientists, such as transference, counter-transference, and projective identification. I will then demonstrate a practical application of this technique to a particular interview case with a participant called “Adrian,” to highlight how psychoanalysis can reveal a new layer of understanding of the unconscious dynamics at work in the interview encounter.

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