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Lecture 5

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Communication Studies
Baxter Moore

COMM2P20 Lecture5 October10th,2012 “Analyzethis”:Psychoanalysis andPopularCulture Starts with Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) - Argues that “the creation of civilization has resulted in the suppression of basic human instincts” (Storey 91) - Has happened: 1. By having basic needs satisfied by civilization (hunger, shelter, etc) 2. As we become more civilized, we develop more rules and codes which prevent us from behaving in an ‘uncivilized’ fashion - But those instincts cannot be totally suppressed, they just come out in other ways - Those basic instincts revealed by Freud’s conception of three levels of the mind and his deconstruction of the elements of the psyche Threelevelsofthemind 1. Conscious - thoughts/ perceptions 2. Preconscious - memories/ stored knowledge - the things that we know just from living in a shared culture 3. Subconscious - violent motives, immoral urges, fears, irrational wishes, unacceptable sexual desires, selfish needs, shameful experiences - things we tend to suppress (either because they are painful to us or because society does not want us to act out on them) The mind is like an iceberg with the unconscious at the bottom (underwater) - a lot more below than there is above in terms of what may guide our thoughts and actions DeconstructstheHumanPsyche 1. ID (latin for “it”): the primitive self, the inner self, driven by basic instincts and passions (the pleasure principle) 2. Ego: the social self which evolves to allow one to exist in society (the reality principle), in part by mediating between the passions of the id and super-ego. 3. Super-Ego: the conscience, the representative of authority. Tend to dwell at different levels of consciousness, different levels of the mind - Ego lives mostly at the conscious level, but is informed by the preconscious - Super-ego tends to operate more at the preconscious level (shared knowledge of what society expects of us is an important restraint on the id) - Id is almost entirely at the unconscious level - driven by the basic instincts and passions - Super-ego is the angel and the id is the devil - ego is caught in the middle between the basic drives and the instincts of the id and the authority figure (conscious) of the ego RepressionandDreams - To allow us to function in society, ego often has to repress basic instincts of the id - For the most part, we can’t pursue a pleasure where the id might take us, or always respond to our basic fears, or sexual drives, or violent urges - Instead, we repress them into our unconscious/ subconscious - According to Freud, those things bubble back up, they surface in other ways - Often in our dreams - Dreams are “a compromised structure”—a compromise between the demands of the id and censorship by the ego (responding to the super-ego) - Dreams incorporate manifest (remembered) content and latent (repressed) content FreudandSex - Dreams are full of symbols which may be read. Many of these may be interpreted as sexual in nature (caves, hollows, pockets; trees, spears…and airships?) - Note: Freud warns against the outsider imposing meaning on these symbols (only the dreamer can do this) OedipusComplex - Freud famous for the Oedipus Complex, his theory of psychosexual development - Named after character in Greek drama by Sophocles. Oedipus, unknowingly, first kills his father, then marries his mother. When he discovers what he has done, he blinds himself. - For Freud, argued that all boys desire their mothers and symbolically wish to kill their fathers - it is only once one matures into adulthood that one gets over these desires. - Freud also struggled over time to apply a similar model to the psychosexual development of girls (the Jocasta Complex), but revised his thinking on a number of occasions PopularCulture&Freud - Freudian psychoanalysis has been widely used as a method to understand texts by: 1. “Author-Centered” approach: viewing the text as the author’s dream (author here may be novelist, poet, film-maker, etc) a. Surface of the text (words, images) is the manifest content of the dream which may obscure the author’s hidden desires (latent content). May try to analyse the author’s psyche by reading the text in a Freudian way b. Freud would warn us against this because only the author could really tell us what he/she mean by their creation 2. “Reader-Centered” approach: Texts (books, films, TV shows, songs) serve as substitute dreams for the readers, viewers, etc. Allowing them “to symbolically play out desires and fantasies in the texts they read” (Storey 100) Storey (100-102) applies the key concepts of Freudian analysis to a sample text: the old children’s take of “Little Red Riding Hood”. All of the characters can be seen as symbolic members of her family. - Grandma = mother - Wolf eats riding hood = sexual metaphor - Huntsman rescues red = father LacanandPsychoanalysis - Jaques Lacan, 1901-1981 - Lacan starts out with Freud and the Oedipus Complex, but builds on Freud’s work in two ways: 1. By anchoring psychoanalysis in culture rather than biology - how culture drives and restrains our emotions 2. By developing a more detailed understanding of the developmental process and its link to culture - - For Lacan, we are all born into a condition of ‘lack’ (incompleteness) and spend the rest of our lives trying to make up for that lack (to complete ourselves) - drive for social acceptance, etc Lacan’sStages - We are born in “The Real”: a state of nature, in perfect union with our
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