ABSTRACT

At the turn of the twenty-first century a new academic discipline known as “psycho-social studies” emerged. This evolving approach explores how people’s feelings influence the society in which they live and vice versa. Psychoanalysis is especially helpful to psycho-social studies because it uses data-generating free association and addresses the role played by the unconscious. In particular, psychoanalytic theories shed important light on the interpersonal psychodynamics that inevitably underlie research relationships (Clarke, 2008; Clarke & Hoggett, 2009; Hollway, 2008a). Since these unconscious dynamics are potentially very informative, attending to them closely can facilitate deep understandings of research participants’ experiences. Hence, what psychoanalysis offers to social research is extremely valuable.