Structure and Functions of Fantasy

By Eric Klinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Modes of Sequencing

The sequencing of fantasy segments can be viewed from two different time perspectives. One class of determinants of content exerts a relatively longterm influence, encompassing periods of hours, days, or longer. This class of potentiating factors has taken the conceptual form of "unconscious wish," "need," "drive," "motive," and, in the formulation of Chapter 3, "current concern." It is of great importance, and is considered extensively in Chapters 8 to 11. However, precisely because a determinant in this class exerts a relatively persistent influence, it is incapable of accounting for moment-to-moment shifts in thematic content. It is necessary, consequently, to consider a set of shorter-term determinants of sequencing, determinants that operate upon the transition from one particular segment of fantasy to the next.

It should be apparent from the preceding chapters that the concept of segment refers to a relative unit of organization rather than an absolute unit. Segmentation refers to changes in content. Content may change in basic thematic respects, leading to the designation of "main routine shift," or there may be a change in the focus of a continuing thema, which has been labeled "subroutine shift" (Chapter 4). The term "segment" is applied to both main and subroutines indiscriminately. There is too little empirical information concerning segmentation to warrant sharp distinctions between these different levels of organization except for purposes of content analysis.

Chapter 6 concerned itself with the composition and organization of segments. Implicitly, "segment" there referred to the smallest discernible unit of content, which might be a simple, fleeting main routine or a subsubroutine in a complex main routine. One of the fundamental problems of psychology is to understand the causes of shifts from one such segment to another, to understand the dynamics of moment-to-moment behavioral change or, to state it another way, the laws which govern the sequencing of segments in behavior. The sequencing of segments in fantasy forms the subject of the present chapter.

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