Sigmund Freud's Theory Of Psycho-Cultural Analysis

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Anthropology studies primitive societies through ethnography in order to determine how humans develop through societal functioning and the culture they are brought up in. Freud gave several insights on psycho cultural analysis, one was that individuals daily lives are influenced by the drives of the unconscious. Psychoanalysis is unique in its ”preoccupation... with the purposes and symbolic content of thought”(LaBarre, 1968a,p.85). Freud’s psychoanalytic approach in Anthropology has been highly criticised due to many questions about personality and culture. One question was whether psychoanalytic theories of the unconscious highlight characteristics, beliefs and behaviours in non-Western populations. Anthropologists have argued that Freud’s theory is culture bound. Freud’s theory centralised on the structure of the psyche, which is included within the inner models of reality of the individual in biological and social aspects. The unconscious is a psychic…show more content…
transmitted from generation to generation by percept, teaching, and example, [are] not — at least all practical purposes — psychogenic in origin” (Turner 1978:573). In his study of the Ndembu tribe of Zambia, Turner (1967:19) defined ritual as "prescribed formal behaviour for occasions not given over to technological routine, having reference to beliefs in mystical beings and powers." In Ndembu rituals are seen as authoritative and essential values for their tribe. Symbols are seen as a reference to the supernatural their religious beliefs. Anthropologists researched ways of linking cultural symbolism to unconscious fantasy, they argued that even though culture is the product of individual unconscious fantasy, it is also the manner through which people organise their own thoughts and internal worlds. “ ... culture, in providing myths or beliefs for the ‘cold ‘storage’ of certain fantasies and insights, keeps them out of ‘private
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