Possibilities and Limitations of a
Jungian Approach to Psychohistory
A Presentation By Kevin Lu
Tuesday 24th May 2011 – 8:30pm at AJA
this paper, I critically assess the potential of a distinctly Jungian approach
to psychohistory. By and large,
the utilization of depth psychological insights in professional, historical
narratives has been Freudian in scope.
To gauge the possibility of a Jungian contribution to the field, we must
first consider what Jung actually said about ‘history’, and the extent to which
analytical psychological tenets can be considered ‘historical’. Although some of Jung’s work can be
considered ‘historical’ in its orientation, he never explicitly wrote any
history. We may have, however, an
example of how Jungian psychohistory can be done if we look to Arnold J.
Toynbee’s mobilization of Jungian concepts in his magnum opus, A Study of
History. Yet one historian’s use of Jung does
not constitute a valid argument for the application’s viability and
efficacy. On the contrary,
criticisms made against Toynbee (of which there are many) provide an
opportunity to critically assess some of the limitations of a Jungian approach
specifically and the possible reactions of professional historians to Jungian
psychohistory more generally. This
does not preclude the potential contribution analytical psychology can make to
the discipline of history, but it does mean that any attempt at dialogue needs
to acknowledge the epistemological foundations of the discipline in which it
seeks to make a contribution.
Kevin Lu, (Hon.
BA University of Toronto, MA Heythrop College), is a
Lecturer at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, and the
Director of the MA in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies.He recently contributed a chapter to Sexual
Revolutions, edited by Gottfried Heuer (Routledge 2011), and has
written book reviews for the International Journal for the Psychology of
Religion, The Heythrop Journal and The Journal of
Analytical Psychology. He is
currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association
for Jungian Studies (IAJS), and is serving on the Programme Committee for the
first Regional IAJS Conference to be held in London in the summer of 2011.
For Additional Information Please Contact Kevin Lu Directly: Kevin Lu