By Louise Boyle
Since starting my PhD in October 2014, I have spent much of my time getting to grips with the relevant literature. I have found myself occupied by geographers’ increasing interest in what Rose (1985) terms, the ‘psy-complex’ – the intertwining aspects of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychology and psychiatry. Over the last month, I have taken the plunge and delved into the world of psychoanalytic geographies, and psychoanalysis more generally, that has led to a rather contentious engagement with Freud.
Despite being relatively easy to read the difficulty I have had with Freud is that throughout his body of work his theories and ideas are constantly being modified, revised or changed altogether. As I am selectively dipping in and out of his work this has often been confusing and I have found on more than one occasion that in a later lecture he has completely disbanded a previous theory! In order to make sense of Freudian psychoanalysis, I devised a mind map of Freud’s background, aims and objectives, theoretical components, applications and techniques and limitations to unpick the aspects most relevant to my research.
The writing process started with a systematic review of Freud’s work and the development of psychoanalysis to get the basics down on paper and try to work through the aspects I felt were most relevant to my research. Interesting ideas that cropped up concerned the nature and formation of symptoms, ideas of ‘memory traces’ and Freud’s concept of anxiety as an ‘affective state’
Having submitted a first draft my next task is ‘to space’ Freud by tying his work, and the work of other geographers who have already engaged with Freud and psychoanalysis, with my own research.
(Coffee is mandatory.)
The final piece should feed in to a previous working paper and contribute to a draft of my literature review.
Rose, N. 1985. The Psychological Complex, Routledge, London