Module Details

PA208-6-AU-CO: The Unconscious: Psychoanalysis, Culture, And Society - Freud

Year: 2017/18
Department: Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: Yes

Supervisor: Mr Leonardo Nascimento
Teaching Staff: Mr Leonardo Nascimento
Contact details: Student Administrator, 4SB.6.2, telephone extension 4969, email

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of psychological thinking when the concept of a deep unconscious is introduced; that is, an unconscious whose origins, content and processes are not just outside our awareness, but are far removed from those of conscious life. Sigmund Freud called this form of psychology 'depth psychology', and it includes the traditions that grew from his work and from that of Carl Jung.

The theories of psychoanalysis and of analytical psychology are fascinating and significant in their own right, both in their importance in clinical practice and as conceptual systems. They also introduce a profound, new dimension to the understanding of society, culture and politics. Indeed, Freud and Jung (whose work is explored in a separate module PA209 Jung) wrote extensively in these areas, as well as on clinical practice.

This module will provide an introduction specifically to the theories of Freud, and will also explore their significance in social and cultural analysis. In these areas, psychoanalysis provides both models of social and cultural phenomena, and methods for studying them, based mainly on an understanding of the unconscious, of nuclear complexes (e.g., the Oedipus complex) and Freud's fundamental discovery, the transference.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Weekly one-hour lectures by staff, followed by one-hour seminars led by Graduate Teaching Assistants, both from the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Two 2,500 word essays

Other information

The course can be taken either on its own or followed by the complementary course, The Unconscious: Analytical Psychology, Culture, and Society (PA209 JUNG).

Available to 2nd and 3rd Years
Sociology students may take this course if they have previously taken SC213 Social Psychology (Sociology)


  • (1) Essential readings from Freud are available online through the PEPweb which is accessible through E-Resources on the Library webpages.
  • (2) A basic background text for the module is Quinodoz, J.M. (2005) Reading Freud: A chronological explanation of Freud's writings. London-New York: Routledge
  • (3) Recommended further reading on psychoanalysis:
  • Milton, J., Polmear, C. and Fabricius, J. A. (2004) A Short Introduction to Psychoanalysis. London: Sage.
  • (4) For reference:
  • Laplance, J. and Pontalis, J.-B. (1988) The Language of Psychoanalysis. London: Karnac.

Further information