Beneath the Crust of Culture: Psychoanalytic Anthropology by Howard F. Stein

By Howard F. Stein

In underneath the Crust of tradition, the writer offers a pioneering interpretation of tradition as constituting a dynamic courting among the noticeable "crust" and the elusive "core" of social lifestyles. He meticulously maps the function of the subconscious in shaping a lot of yank lifestyles within the past due twentieth and early twenty first centuries. He crosses and transcends disciplinary barriers in reviews of September eleven, 2001, the 1999 Columbine excessive university bloodbath, the execution of Timothy McVeigh, the 1995 Oklahoma urban bombing, the 1999 Worcester, Massachusetts fireplace, and the eruption of hypernationalism and xenophobia in international locations and offices ﷓﷓ all as cultural phenomena with a psychodynamic middle. He exhibits how the event of loss within the face of huge social swap usually results in both large defence opposed to the event of mourning. This booklet might be of curiosity not just for behavioural and social technological know-how pros, but additionally for a lay public attracted to understandings of tradition deeper than the outside of the inside track and of authentic pronouncements.

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Additional resources for Beneath the Crust of Culture: Psychoanalytic Anthropology and the Cultural Unconscious in American Life (Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies)

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The spectre of losing—and of its associated disgraced status, of being a “loser”—was shared by “geeks,” “jocks,” and “Trenchcoat Warriors” alike. And it was inflamed from the sidelines by indirect and passive assent. In American culture and history, ambition to win does not exist alone; it is in constant conjunction with the imminence of suffering great loss (being fired from one’s job, having one’s job constantly redefined and renegotiated). We speak of “winning big” and “losing big,” with little or no middle ground.

The interpretation is already embedded in the folklore, in the language, in the best-selling business books (Freud & Oppenheim, 1958; Dundes, 1984). The psychodynamic interpretation about culture and symbolism is not some add on (Paul, 1980). It is a matter of seeing and hearing, of feeling, what is there. Countertransferentially speaking, one must, in fact, unconsciously try hard not to look, see, and feel. One final preliminary thought: this chapter is, without conscious design, a sequel to a paper on downsizing and managed care (Stein, 1999a).

From these perspectives, I must conclude that, at the popular culture level, the widely held doctrine of narrowly bounded individual psychology serves as a defense against recognition of the fact of group psychology and its consequences in violence. ) Yet, one is largely ignored, if not censured, if one draws attention to “symbolic” workplace violence, the murder of the human spirit that shaming and intimidation produce. It is as if only guns, knives and bombs signify bona fide violence, that one may not implicate organizational life in goading the person who eventually “goes Postal,” as the colloquialism says.

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