Non-Fiction Books:

The Importance of Disappointment



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The Importance of Disappointment by Ian Craib
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The Importance of Disappointment explores the nature of identity in late modern society. Ian Craib, a sociologist and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, brings together the insights of both disciplines. He argues that "late modern" society seems to present new possibilities of living that are in fact illusions. We come to believe that we can create ourselves; that we have "rights" to aspects of life such as happiness, a "fulfilling relationship", parents who love us unconditionally; we come to believe that we can find a "real self" or alternately we believe that we can be anything that we want to be as the occasion arises. Psychoanalysis too gets caught up in these illusions, offering ideals which are unrealisable, attempting to mould the personality in such a way that it fits late modern society, paradoxically reinforcing the conditions which lead people to seek help in the first place. Against this, Craib points to the "negative" strands of psychoanalysis: Freud's insistence on "normal human misery", Klein's insistence on envy and the death instinct; Lacan's insistence on the fragmented nature of the self and the emphasis in British psychoanalysis on helplessness, dependence and paradox. It is by drawing on such ideas that psychoanalytic therapy can become more than an ideology, offering genuine help to its patients and providing a real source of radical social criticism.

Author Biography

Ian Craib is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex and a psychoanalytic group psychotherapist.
Release date NZ
September 22nd, 1994
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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