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Psychoanalysis: Its image and its public

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3269-8
416 pages
February 2008, Polity
Psychoanalysis: Its image and its public (0745632696) cover image
The publication in English of Serge Moscovici's Psychoanalysis, Its Image and Its Public is an event of singular importance for social psychology. For the first time, English-speaking readers will have access to one of the most influential books published in the discipline in the past 30 years.

Moscovici's development of the theory of social representations has long been recognised as a major contribution to social psychology, but discussion of the theory has been limited been by the unavailability in English of the text in which he provides his most extensive presentation of the theory and demonstrates its fecundity through his empirical study of representations of psychoanalysis in France. Psychoanalysis is in many ways the founding text of the theory of social representations and is, as such, a modern classic. As well as tracing the ways in which knowledge of psychoanalysis is transformed as it is reconstructed by different social groups in French society, Moscovici provides an extensive analysis of the representations of psychoanalysis within the mass media, showing how different interests structure such communication through the different forms of propaganda, propagation and diffusion.

This book will be an indispensable text for students and scholars of social psychology. It will also be of interest to psychologists, sociologists and cultural theorists concerned with mass communication, and to all those with an interest in current perspectives in the social sciences.

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  • Contents
  • Preface by Daniel Lagache
  • Foreword to the Second Edition
  • Preliminary Remarks
  • Part One
  • The Social Representation of Psychoanalysis
  • Findings of Survey and Theoretical Analysis
  • Chapter One Social Representation: A Lost Concept
  • 1. Miniatures of Behaviour, Copies of Reality and Forms of Knowledge
  • 2. Philosophies of Indirect Experience
  • 3. In What Sense is a Representation Social?
  • Chapter Two Psychoanalysis as She is Spoken
  • 1. The Presence of Psychoanalysis
  • 2. The Taboo on Communications and the Attractions of Ignorance
  • Chapter Three Ideas That Become Common-Sense Objects
  • 1. Objectification
  • 2. From Theory to Social Representation
  • 3. The Materialisation of Concepts
  • Chapter Four ‘Homo Psychanalyticus’
  • 1. Classifying and Naming
  • 2. The Internal Boundary Between the Normal and the Pathological
  • 3. Who Needs Psychoanalysis?
  • Chapter Five A Marginal Hero
  • 1. The Psychoanalyst: Magician or Psychiatrist?
  • 2. Social Relations and Role-Playing
  • 3. How the Audience sees the Actor
  • Chapter Six The Psychoanalysis of Everyday Life
  • 1. Description of the Second Major Process: Anchoring
  • 2. Current activities courante and Analytic Therapy
  • 3. Self-Analysts
  • Chapter Seven A Freud for All Seasons
  • 1. The Need for Analysis
  • 2. The Extent of Psychoanalysis’s domains of application
  • 3. Does Psychoanalysis Work?
  • Chapter Eight Ideologies and Their Discontents
  • 1. Psychoanalysis, Religion and Politics
  • 2. The Values of Private Life
  • Chapter Nine Of Jargon in General and Franco-Analytic Jargon in Particular
  • 1. Language and Languages in Conflict

  • 2. Speech Becomes a Reality
  • Chapter Ten Natural Thought: Observation Made In the Course of Interviews
  • 1. Phenomenological Remarks

  • 2. The Style of Natural Thought

  • 3. Two Principles of Intellectual Organisation
  • 4. The Collective Intellect: Tower of Babel or Well-Ordered Diversity?


  • Part Two
  • Psychoanalysis and the French Press
  • Content Analysis and Analysis of Systems of Communication
  • Chapter One The Press: Overview
  • 1. Who Talks about Psychoanalysis?
  • 2. The Many Faces of Psychoanalysis
  • 3. Attitudes, Groups and Ideological Orientations
  • Chapter Two The Diffusion of Psychoanalysis
  • 1. First Descriptions
  • 2. Rhetoric to the Fore
  • 3. Language, The Fiction of Communication and impregnation
  • 4. Overview
  • Chapter Three The Encounter Between Religious Dogma and
  • Psychoanalytic Principles
  • 1. Propagation: Its Characteristics and Its Domain
  • 2. The Assimilation and Adaptation of Profane Notions
  • 3. In Search of a Catholic Conception of Psychoanalysis
  • Chapter Four The Communist Party Meets a Science that is Very Popular and Non-Marxist
  • 1. Theoretical Perspectives
  • 2. What Can We Expect to Read in a Communist or Progressive Publication?
  • 3. What Anti-Psychoanalytic Propaganda Are We Talking About?
  • Chapter Five A Psychosociological Analysis of Propaganda
  • 1. The Functions of Propaganda
  • 2. Cognitive Aspects and Representation in Propaganda
  • 3. Representation As a Tool for Action
  • 4. Language and Action
  • 5. Final Observations
  • Fifteen Years Later
  • Chapter Six A Hypothesis
  • Afterword
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
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    S.Moscovici, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

    D.Macey, Translator

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    • For the first time, English-speaking readers will have access to one of the most influential books published in the discipline in the past 30 years.
    • Psychoanalysis, Its Image and Its Public is in many ways the founding text of the theory of social representations and is, as such, a modern classic.
    • Moscovici provides an extensive analysis of the representations of psychoanalysis within the mass media, showing how different interests structure such communication through the different forms of propaganda, propagation and diffusion.
    • This groundbreaking and fascinating book will be an indispensable text for students and scholars of social psychology.
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    "It has been a great pleasure to read this book – its thorough scholarship and entertaining writing style make it into a masterpiece. As a concise history of recent social psychology worldwide (1960s–1970s), it is a unique treatise on the institutional moves and personal relationships of leading social psychologists on both sides of the Atlantic. This sophisticated case study adds a crucial voice to historical and sociological scholarship. It will be particularly useful at graduate and postgraduate levels – in courses on history of psychology in general, and in special seminars on history of social psychology.This book covers the material precisely as I would like, and will be ideal for use in my seminars as core reading."
    Jaan Valsiner, Clark University

    "This is a richly documented and vivid account of key events in the formation of an academic discipline. It shows how individuals make history, albeit not in conditions of their own making, by seeking an alternative path for the globalization of knowledge. The book traces the apparent failure of the project of rescuing a social psychology of human beings from the global diffusion of a local USA model (individualist, prescriptive, ethnocentric). Ironically, this 'invisible college' was initiated by a visionary group of US scholars mobilizing allies in Europe, Latin America, and Asia under adverse Cold-War conditions. This is an encouraging book. The project of a universally relevant social psychology will continue to inspire the quest for genuine human understanding."
    Martin W. Bauer, London School of Economics

    "This fascinating and important book makes out a carefully documented and persuasive case that one virtually forgotten committee, more than any other body, was responsible for shaping the international social psychology we know today. The book will be an essential source for future research on and understanding of the history of social psychology and anyone with an interest in that history really should read it."
    Colin Fraser, University of Cambridge

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