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Self, Social Structure, and BeliefsExplorations in Sociology$
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Jeffrey Alexander

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241367

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241367.001.0001

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The Sociological Eye and the Psychoanalytic Ear

The Sociological Eye and the Psychoanalytic Ear

Chapter:
(p.21) Chapter 2 The Sociological Eye and the Psychoanalytic Ear
Source:
Self, Social Structure, and Beliefs
Author(s):

Nancy J. Chodorow

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520241367.003.0003

Nancy Chodorow, the author of this chapter, followed in the footsteps of Smelser and became a psychoanalyst after establishing her career in sociology. Smelser was one of the few sociologists who encouraged her to move in this direction, as he shared with her an impatience with a sociological establishment that refused to recognize individuality. Chodorow speculates on the possible unconscious fears of sociologists that lead them to shun the rich variety and boundless creativity of individuals. This chapter illustrates the richness of individual meaning-making by examining the different ways that World War II was experienced by the members of her generation. World War II was such a big and a world-changing event that a psychological response was required of all who lived through it. However, the chapter shows that the particular response of any person is individually created, dependent on the biographical details, internal conflicts and creativity of each person affected. Thus like, Smelser, Chodorow in her chapter pushes for the disciplinary boundaries of sociology to include a depth psychology. However, unlike Smelser, Chodorow examines the intrapsychic dynamics through individual case studies, hence demonstrating the rich variety of human responses to social events.

Keywords:   sociology, individual meaning-making, psychological response, depth psychology, human responses, social events

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