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Using Psychodynamic Interaction as a Valuable Source of Information in Social Research

Keywords: social research , second-order research , research framework , research method , research process , research experience , psychodynamic research , intersubjectivity , intrasubjectivity , narrative interview , relational space , professional identity

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Abstract:

This article will address the issue of using understandings of psychodynamic interrelations as a means to grasp how social and cultural dynamics are processed individually and collectively in narratives. I apply the two theoretically distinct concepts of inter- and intrasubjectivity to gain insight into how social and cultural dynamics are processed as subjective experiences and reflected in the interrelational space created in narrative interviews with trainee social educators. By using a combination of interactionist theory and psychosocial theory in the analysis of an interview with a student of social education, I demonstrate how the often conflicting demands and expectations are being played out in the interrelational tension between the researcher (myself) and the interviewee or narrator. In a confrontation with “inner” expectations and concerns regarding a future profession and one’s ability to cope, and the “outer” socially and culturally embedded discourses as they are played out in the objectives of self-development and education, the narrative about a forthcoming internship is filled with tension and contradiction. In this article I will demonstrate how such tensions and contradictions are valuable sources of information in understanding the process of becoming a social educator.

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