From Don's list on see the world with fresh eyes.
Sigmund Freud tends to be lampooned these days as a cartoonish patriarch, but psychoanalysis is one of the few genuinely insightful theories that tries to understand why people frequently do things they can’t explain, don’t understand, or don’t even want to do. Social psychologist Michael Billig’s book starts out by noting that Freud considered his greatest discovery to be not the unconscious (as most people think), but repression – the series of activities that produce the unconscious. The book is a clearly-written, practical exploration of how repression is accomplished in day-to-day life. An example: “Each time adults tell a child how to speak politely, they are indicating how to speak rudely”. Think about that.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
In Freudian Repression, Michael Billig presents an original reformulation of Freud's concept of repression, showing that in his theory of the unconscious he fails to examine how people actually repress shameful thoughts. Drawing on recent insights from discursive psychology, Billig suggests that in learning to speak we also learn what not to say: language is thus both expressive and repressive. He applies this perspective to some of Freud's classic case histories such as 'Dora' and the 'Rat Man' and the great psychologist's own life to show the importance of small words in speech. By focusing on previously overlooked exchanges, even…