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Sociology, Racism and Psychoanalysis: An Introduction

  • Simon Clarke
Chapter

Abstract

There are two central themes in this book which I want to explore and map out for the reader. First, the relationship between sociological thought and psychoanalytic theory, and, second, how we may use these ideas to gain a better understanding of racism and ethnic hatred. Psychoanalysis has enjoyed a somewhat uneasy position within the sociological community, often rejected because certain key concepts are difficult to demonstrate empirically, not least the epistemological basis of the idea of the unconscious mind. There is a subtext to this book in which I try to make psychoanalytic thinking more accessible for sociologists, social scientists and cultural theorists by positioning psychoanalysis as a hermeneutic interpretative method — a sociology of the imagination. In doing so, I am not positing psychoanalytic sociology as a ‘better’ explanation of racism and ethnic hatred, rather, I am arguing that the combination of psychoanalysis and sociology gives us a deeper understanding of the subject area. I think to understand racism and other hatreds is about as good as we can get, or hope for; to explain it fully seems as elusive as stopping racism entirely, and naive to boot; hatred of the other is as old as history itself.

Keywords

Social Theory Projective Identification Psychoanalytic Theory Sociological Explanation Epistemological Basis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Simon Clarke 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Clarke

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