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    The ambivalences of Angel's ‘arrangement’: a psychosocial lens on the contemporary condition of personal life

    Roseneil, Sasha (2006) The ambivalences of Angel's ‘arrangement’: a psychosocial lens on the contemporary condition of personal life. The Sociological Review 54 (4), pp. 847-869. ISSN 0038-0261.

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    The aim of this article is to explore the potential of a psychoanalytically informed psychosocial approach to extend understandings of the contemporary condition of personal life. It argues for the theorization of the intertwining of the social and the psychic, in order to take seriously the realm of the intra-psychic and the dynamic unconscious, without engaging in either psychological or sociological reductionism. The article offers a detailed case study of an interview with one individual (‘Angel’), highlighting three themes in his narrative which resonate with wider findings about changing patterns of intimacy and sociability: the experience of relationship break-up and psychological distress, the centrality of friendship, and de-centring and re-imagining the sexual relationship. Particular attention is paid to the story Angel tells of his unconventional partnership, and to the analysis of his self-presentation, in the light of the thematic analysis. The psychosocial approach attends both to sociological themes and unconscious psychodynamics, and presents an analysis of the particular character of the disappointments, loss, psychic conflicts and ambivalences which are part of the experience of contemporary personal life. The paper concludes with some critical reflections on conducting psychoanalytic psychosocial readings of interview data.


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