The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society

The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society

The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society

The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society

Synopsis

How do cultural complexes affect the collective psyche? Based on Jung's theory of complexes, this book offers a new perspective on the psychological nature of conflicts between groups and cultures by introducing the¿concept of the cultural complex. This modern version of Jung's idea offers an original view of the forces that prevent human attempts to bring a peaceful, collaborative spirit to conflict between groups. Leading analysts and academics from a range of cultural backgrounds present their own perspective on the concept, demonstrating how the effects of cultural complexes can be felt in the behaviour of disenfranchised, oppressed and traumatised groups across the world. Ultimately, a clearer understanding of the source and nature of group conflict is reached through discussion of central subjects including: * Collective trauma and cultural complexes * Exploring racism: a clinical example of a cultural complex * Cultural complexes in the history of Jung, Freud and their followers. The Cultural Complex represents a valuable contribution to analytical psychology and will undoubtedly also stimulate dialogue in the fields of sociology, political science and cultural studies.

Excerpt

Thomas Singer and Samuel L. Kimbles

Since the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the binary world view of conflicting superpowers that it symbolized, an endless parade of ethnic, racial, religious, gender, national and regional factions have emerged on the world stage with their long simmering feuds bubbling over. Everywhere, disadvantaged and/ or disenfranchised groups-whether representing a minority or a majority-have been crying out for justice, healing or vengeance-or all three simultaneously. It seems as if peoples from every continent have been caught in an endless round of conflicts that run the gamut from familial and tribal skirmishes to international hatreds. As these group conflicts flood relationships with highly charged emotions at every level of human exchange-from local to global-we seek explanations, understanding and remedies. More often than not, such seeking leaves us feeling powerless in the face of the intractable nature of these feuds. Political theories, economic theories, sociological theories, religious theories and psychological theories-all provide a partial glimpse of the truth as to what underlies and fuels these conflicts. This book offers a new perspective on the psychological nature of conflicts between groups and cultures. This new perspective is based on an old theory-Jung's theory of complexes which he developed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Our modern version and new application of Jung's old idea make no special claim to having the answer to what causes-or might heal-group and cultural conflict, but they offer a point of view that may be useful to some as they ponder the forces that invariably seem to thwart most human attempts to bring a peaceful, collaborative spirit to the unending strife between groups of people. In our ripe time or kairos, when understanding both the uniqueness and commonality of cultures from around the world has become essential for the well-being of the global community itself, shedding more light on what tears us apart is an essential first step. Much of what tears us apart can be understood as the manifestation of autonomous processes in the collective and individual psyche that organize themselves as cultural complexes.

This book sets out to explore a single notion-what we have called “the cultural complex.” The very name of the notion is a synthesis of two very potent words-“cultural” and “complex”-each carrying a long and important history of research, speculation, and multileveled meaning. The notion of a “cultural complex” is a

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