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The Curiosity that is Curiosity: A Psychoanalytic Conceptual-Clinical Study

Pittock, Frances M (2016) The Curiosity that is Curiosity: A Psychoanalytic Conceptual-Clinical Study. Other thesis, University of Essex.

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Curiosity is central to the psychoanalytic endeavour, yet there has been little development of it as a psychoanalytic concept. As an internal experience it is not readily objectively identified. Alternatively it is possible to identify and operationalise defences against it. My approach is based on a model in which curiosity is a dimension of separation. It is a result of integration, of the conflux of several lines of development and as such it is tolerant of separation, but there is an oppositional state that is intolerant and tension exists along this pole. The significance of this model is that the elusive concept is approached via its defences that are capable of operational definition. The oppositional pole is identified in the regressive defence of voyeurism and of disavowal. They have the appearance of curiosity but are defences against it. I used transcripts of interviews with psychoanalytic practitioners and applied an iterative process in moving between data and theory to identify and classify these defences. The movement from tolerance to intolerance within the clinical situation is hypothesised to relate to the difficulty in tolerating the process of accreting forms of evidence of the whole object demanded by separation. There are therefore two joined segments to this thesis: the characterisation of curiosity as distinct from its defensive replacements and the demonstration of curiosity as a dimension of separation. My thesis rests on linking these two aspects. The separation hypothesis supports the idea that the defences betray intolerance, while curiosity is tolerant, and the demonstration of the appearance of the defences supports the separation hypothesis. My approach is novel in bringing curiosity into relief via analysis of its disguised defences and in articulating its explicit relation to separation.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Frances Pittock
Date Deposited: 11 May 2017 11:38
Last Modified: 11 May 2017 11:38

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