Psychoanalysis: Controversies and Contexts
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
24 August 2023
Requisites for this module
MA C89012 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C89024 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C890MO Psychoanalytic Studies,
MPHDC89048 Psychoanalytic Studies,
PHD C89048 Psychoanalytic Studies
This module explores intellectual, cultural, social and interdisciplinary contexts of the development of psychoanalysis and its theoretical and clinical ideas. This is firstly with a view to providing a better understanding of how certain concepts and issues arose in a particular historical and cultural climate, and how they were shaped by this; and secondly, as a way of drawing attention to certain complex or contentious facets of psychoanalysis which have become points of transition or dispute – either in a broader interdisciplinary context, or within the development of psychoanalysis itself.The rationale here is that
i) even where psychoanalysis presents itself as its own clinical construct, with its own specific objects and methodologies, it has often trespassed onto other disciplinary terrains (cultural interpretation, anthropology, philosophy, politics and so on) in the act of formulating its concepts and practices.
ii) Certain notions – such as 'instinct/drive' or the 'unconscious', or 'phantasy' – are complex terms which do not reveal their full implications without some knowledge of the broader cultural and scientific context.
iii) Certain ideas have become objects of dispute within psychoanalysis itself and it is therefore useful to supplement understanding of the 'theory' with some knowledge of the nature of the debate surrounding them.
• To provide historical, philosophical, and cultural background that will enrich understanding of the origin and nature of psychoanalysis;
• To foster a critical approach to the history and theory of psychoanalysis.
By the end of the module students should be able to:
Show how psychoanalysis emerged out of, differentiated itself from, and continues to develop in relationship to specific but complex socio-cultural conditions (both immediate and long-term);
Discuss psychoanalysis with a critical awareness of its diversity and complexity, of its past and of the disputed histories of that past, and of its continual change in the present;
Demonstrate how psychoanalysis provides critical theoretical perspectives both on the events and circumstances of its own past and on the disciplines (e.g., biography, history, philosophy) by which we might try to establish and evaluate its past;
Deploy various critical and academic skills (e.g., how to evaluate historical sources, philosophical arguments, or cultural artefacts) in the investigation of the theories and texts of psychoanalysis.
Students are reminded that they are required to come to seminars fully prepared to participate in the learning process. This means, minimally, having done the essential reading and being prepared and motivated to engage in debate and discussion, and to raise critical questions.
In general, each seminar will include an overview of the topic, presented by the seminar leader. Students may also be required to give brief presentations on set texts in certain weeks aimed at opening up discussion on the topic for that week. This will be followed by discussion and occasional group work aiming to get to grips with questions arising from the set readings.
NB: In order for the Aims and Learning Outcomes to be achieved students are
reminded that they are required to come to seminars fully prepared to participate in the
learning process. This means, at a minimum, having done the essential reading and being prepared and motivated to engage in debate and discussion, and to raise critical
This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Matt Ffytche, email: email@example.com.
Professor Matt Ffytche
Student Administrator 5A.202; Tel: 01206 873745; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Noreen Giffney
Ulster University, Jordanstown Campus, Northern Ireland
Lecturer in Counselling
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 18 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.
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