Psychoanalysis and Social Theory

Subject SOTH30004 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty contact hours per semester. Two x 1-hour lectures and one x 1-hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Prerequisites: None
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 Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

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.

Learning Outcomes:

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%) due during the semester, an essay of 1600 words (30%) due mid-semester, a final essay of 2000 words (50%) due during the examination period, class participation and contribution (10%).

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial participation. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

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:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • 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.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Gender Studies Major
Social Theory
Social Theory
Social Theory Major
Sociology Major

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