Psychoanalysis and structuration theory: The social logic of identity. Sociology 36(3): 559–576

Abstract

This article examines the sociological appropriation of psychoanalysis in the work of Anthony Giddens. It describes how Giddens uses psychoanalysis as a theoreti-cal and strategic resource for the sociology of identity. The paper comprises an outline of the axes and problematizations of subjective identity in structuration theory. On the one hand, the three axes of cognition, competence and biography; on the other hand, the four problems of trust (how to believe in the world); knowledge (how to appropriate our belief in the world); anxiety (how to defend our sense of the world); and morals (how best to manage ourselves in the world). From this I draw three main conclusions: (1) Giddens includes trust as well as knowledge along the axis of cognition; (2) he views operations of defence as achievements of competent subjects; and (3) he understands the narrative of self-identity as a type of defence mechanism. If these conclusions are correct, then structuration theory will continue to treat affectivity as a problem of representa-tion

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