Publication details [#10683]

Thomas, Ronald S. 1990. Archipelagos of the psyche: Symbolic action in the psychological anthropology of C. G. Jung. Cambridge, Mass.. 246 pp.


This thesis examines the work of Carl Gustav Jung as a form of discourse, that is, as a particular way of constructing a "world," in order to show the possibilities for an anthropological method that provides an essential psychological and epistemological complement to approaches based on a methodological monism. A number of central texts in Jung's 'Collected Works' are investigated, as well as his correspondence with Freud, and several recently published seminars, to identify controlling metaphors that recur and evolve in his work. The theory of tropes, as developed by Kenneth Burke and Hayden White, is used to study Jung's use of metaphor and figurative language. It is argued that the "master trope" which organizes and structures his discourse is Synecdoche. The thesis traces the evolution and implications of this Synecdochic discourse, and contrasts it with the basic trope of Metonymy in Freudian psychoanalysis. The first chapter discusses parallels between the interpretive activities of the anthropologist and the psychoanalyst. Chapter Two probes the relationship between Jung's personal biography and the evolution of his psychological investigations, and concludes with an examination of how conflicts between Jung and Freud decisively shaped their respective forms of psycho-social inquiry. Chapter Three considers how Jung's discovery of the generative, productive power of fantasy evolved into a psychological approach to the archetype as metaphor. Chapter Four analyzes the structure of Jung's "analytical psychology," particularly its use of generative metaphors to investigate the unconscious. The final section of the chapter explores symbolic action in an individual, through a detailed study of a single case, to illustrate the Jungian hermeneutic of symbols. The conclusion reviews the key themes of the chapters as contributions to a self-reflexive method for the human sciences. (Dissertation Abstracts)