How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Psychoanalysis and society


Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Articles > Psychoanalysis and society

Description | Discussion | See also



Within any society there is a shared unconscious dynamic.

The psyche of a society has been described as emanating from its leaders and hence infecting their followers with not only goals and values but also disorders and dysfunctions.

Much of our sense of identity comes from the people with whom we associate and exist as we constantly socially reconstruct our selves.



Goffman (1961) examined the socialization of people entering asylums. An asylum is a bounded field, making it a conveniently contained and separate unit of study. that can tell us something of wider social systems. He identified how the institution is constituted in three elements that provide an exaggerated system of control:

  • An overall rational system and authority that connects the separate phases of sleeping, eating, work and play, thus providing stability, cohesion and meaning.

  • Each phase is carried out in the company of others who are treated alike, thus validating the rules and treatment through fairness and conformance.

  • All phases are tightly scheduled, again offering predictability and reinforcing control.

Goffman sees life as a struggle between the inner 'I' and the outer-defined 'me' (as with the Psychoanalytic tensions between inner and outer worlds). As a social interactionist, he was particularly concerned with the social 'me' that performs as an actor, projecting an image to others.

A common form of institutional control is through manipulation of the inmate's self-image, where the former self-image is attacked and modified through such methods as defacement that changes physical appearance and the mortification of attacks on the self, much as is used in conversion techniques.

Institutional carers may replace the mother and without good-enough acceptance and support may further damage and cause repression of any deviant tendencies.

Such methods of control may miss the further aspects of the self that may see, reflect on and respond to these methods. In their structuralist views, man is created as a deterministic machine that may be perfectly controlled, both on the outside and hence on the inside. As in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', the 'I' is still alive and inmates may yet think for themselves.

See also

Goffman, (1961). Asylums,

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |


You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book

Look inside


Please help and share:


Quick links


* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design


* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower


* Principles


* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values


* Alphabetic list
* Theory types


Guest Articles


| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-
Massive Content — Maximum Speed