When the Unconscious Joins the Game: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Modernization and Change


  • Linda Lundgaard Andersen Roskilde University




life history, modernization, change processes, transference, defense mechanism


The article presents a psychoanalytic and cultural perspective on the modernization of the welfare state in a Danish context. The article analyzes the processes of change and development in public welfare organizations through theoretical and empirical perspectives. The first statement argues, that development and change related to modernization cause anxiety, defensiveness, and ambivalence. The second statement shows how an analysis of transference provides significant insight into organizational and human dynamics, thereby refining our understanding of change and modernization. The third statement posits that in the setting of public welfare administration, the typical response to anxiety and defense mechanisms involves rational and instrumental measures rather than the establishment of a reflective, defense-reducing working environment. The fourth statement suggests that developmental work activates previous experiences that can either inhibit or facilitate development and change in a complex alternation. The fifth statement points to the economic, political, and cultural context and its influence on the intensity and extent of defense mechanisms. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0303261


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Author Biography

Linda Lundgaard Andersen, Roskilde University

Linda Lundgaard ANDERSEN, Associate Professor, Ph.D. is an educational researcher doing research in welfare state institutions and their subjective and societal dimensions—based on ethnographic, psycho-societal and action research methods.




How to Cite

Andersen, L. L. (2003). When the Unconscious Joins the Game: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Modernization and Change. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-4.3.674



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