Psychoanalysis and Social Theory

Subject 672-324 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Ten 1-hour lectures and ten 2-hour seminars
Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours, 6 additional hours. Total 8.5 hours.

Usually 50 points of first-year subjects.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr John Cash

Subject Overview:

Psychoanalysis has informed and influenced contemporary social theory in manifold ways. Psychoanalysis has been central to theorising the decentred subject, it has radically affected conceptualisations of ideology, thrown reason under radical suspicion and has contributed to a better understanding of identities; including identities of nation, race, gender and ethnicity. This subject investigates these issues in the context of a consideration of texts by Freud, Klein, Lacan, Kristeva, Adorno, Fromm, Habermas, Zizek, Mitchell, Giddens and Althusser. Students who complete this subject should gain a sound knowledge of some major traditions in psychoanalytic theory, particularly Freudian, Kleinian and Lacanian, and should come to possess an awareness of why social theory has been drawn to psychoanalysis in order to analyse subjectivities, group processes, intergroup relations, ideological formations, and forms of reason.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should...
  • possess knowledge of some major traditions in psychoanalytic theory; particularly Freudian, Kleinian and Lacanian;
  • possess knowledge of some major traditions of social theory and their appropriations of psychoanalysis;
  • possess an understanding of the place of psychoanalysis within certain forms of feminist theory;
  • possess an awareness of why social theory has been drawn to psychoanalysis for the purpose of both theorising and analysing subjectivity, group processes, intergroup relations, ideological formations, and forms of reason;
  • possess an understanding of the ways in which social theory has turned to psychoanalysis in order to develop methods of analysis which may be used in the study of empirical cases, be these individual or social;
  • possess an awareness of the centrality of psychoanalysis to the contemporary human sciences.

An oral presentation of a 400-word tutorial paper 10%, an essay of 1600 words 30% (due mid-semester), a second essay of 2000 words 50% (due during the examination period), class participation and contribution 10%.

Prescribed Texts:

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Book Shop.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;

  • be able to conduct independent research;

  • be able to make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;

  • be able to form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.


Formerly available as 136-260/360. Students who have completed 136-260/360 are not eligible to enrol in this subject. This subject is offered in alternate years.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology & Social Theory
Gender Studies
History && Philosophy of Science Major
Social Theory
Social Theory Major

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