Despite the prominence of television in our everyday lives, psychoanalytic approaches to its significance and function are notoriously few and far between.
This volume takes up perspectives from object relations theory and other psychoanalytic approaches to ask questions about the role of television as an object of the internal worlds of its viewers, and also addresses itself to a range of specific television programs, ranging from “Play School”, through the plays of Jack Rosenthal to recent TV blockbuster series such as “In Treatment”.
In addition, it considers the potential of television to open up new public spaces of therapeutic experience. Interviews with a TV producer and with the subject of a documentary expressly suggest that there is scope for television to make a positive therapeutic intervention in people’s lives. At the same time, however, the pitfalls of reality programming are explored with reference to the politics of entertainment and the televisual values that heighten the drama of representation rather than emphasizing the emotional experience of reality television participants and viewers. A recurring theme throughout is that television becomes a psychological object for its viewers and producers, maintaining the psychological status quo on the one hand and yet simultaneously opening up playful spaces of creative, therapeutic engagement for these groups. This collection of essays makes a timely intervention into the field of television studies by offering a distinctive range of psycho-cultural approaches drawn from both academic criticism and an array of experiences grounded in both the clinical and televisual scenes of practice.
This collection of essays arises from a conference organized by the Media and the Inner World research network in collaboration with the Freud Museum.
The Editors: Caroline Bainbridge is Reader in Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton and a director of the Media and the Inner World research network. She is editor of the journal, Free Associations: Psychoanalysis and Culture, Media, Groups, Politics and author of The Cinema of Lars von Trier: Authenticity and Artifice (Wallflower Press, 2007) and A Feminine Cinematics: Luce Irigaray, Women and Film (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). She also co-edited Culture and the Unconscious (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Ivan Ward is Director of Learning at the Freud Museum, London, and manager of the Public Programme of talks and conferences. His publications include The Presentation of Case Material in Clinical Discourse, The Psychology of Nursery Education, Introducing Psychoanalysis, Phobia, Castration, and Shame and Sexuality (co-edited with Claire Pajaczkowska). Candida Yates is a reader in Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London and is a director of the Media and the Inner World research network. She is the Co-Editor of the journal Free Associations: Psychoanalysis and Culture, Media, Groups, Politics and a consulting editor of the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society and she has published widely on the themes of masculinity, emotion, politics and popular culture. Her publications include: Masculine Jealousy and Contemporary Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and she also co-edited Culture and The Unconscious (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Emotion: New Psychosocial Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).