Deleuzian Approaches to Social Dreaming and Related Psychosocial Methods

Manley, Julian Y orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2548-8033 (2024) Deleuzian Approaches to Social Dreaming and Related Psychosocial Methods. In: The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies. Springer, pp. 901-919. ISBN 978-3-031-30365-4

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There has been a recent shift toward an acceptance of Deleuzian psychoanalytically informed philosophy in Psychosocial Studies, especially in research that uses social dreaming, that is, the sharing of dreams by people gathered together for the purpose of investigating a shared unconscious knowledge related to a research question or social topic. This chapter provides an in-depth account of how social dreaming illustrates Deleuzian thinking in action and how it is possible to understand social dreaming in Deleuzian terms in ways that provide a unique and exciting alternative to traditional psychosocial approaches not only to the social dreaming matrix but also, by implication, to other psychosocial methods. Major Deleuzian concepts, including the body without organs, the rhizome, intensities of affect, becoming, smooth and striated space, nomadic thought, deterritorialization, assemblages, and the Deleuzian “concept,” will each be defined and illustrated with examples from social dreaming. The Deleuzian frame is cross-referenced with more familiar psychosocial terms, such as Freudian free association, Winnicott’s “holding,” Bion’s “reverie,” containment and alpha and beta elements, and Bollas’ “unthought known,” among others, in a way that places Deleuzian thought in the center of a theoretical approach to social dreaming, rather than an oppositional or alternative approach. The chapter concludes by pointing to the relevance of Deleuzian thought in other methods that have been inspired or emerged from social dreaming, such as the photo-social matrix, the “dream drawing matrix,” social choreography, the various attempts to introduce art/art therapy into social dreaming, and the visual matrix.

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