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Trance-scripts: the poetics of a reflexive guide to hypnosis and trance talk

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posted on 24.11.2010, 09:16 authored by Katie MacMillan
Trance-Scripts is an analysis of the social construction of hypnosis, looking at the way in which versions of hypnosis are constituted in various kinds of texts and talk. The analysis is reflexive, in that it highlights its own constructed nature, including how it textually constructs the textually constructed nature of hypnosis. Taking a relativist and social constructionist perspective, hypnosis is revealed (or constructed) as a discursive and social practice, in how it is realized, conducted, reported, disputed, theorized, accounted for, debunked, and so on. The analysis examines a range of written materials on hypnosis, including historical, clinical, and social psychology textbooks, popular media, as well as transcriptions of hypnotic inductions. The thesis uses alternative literary forms (ALFs) as a way of highlighting the textual construction of its own, and others', claims to knowledge, and of creating, caricaturing, and analysing through parody, the thesis's topics. These topics include the connections between poetry, hypnosis, therapy and reflexivity proposed in the thesis, and also the standard uses of ALFs in reflexive work of this kind. Reflexive analysis is produced via a self conscious use of a metaphoric spiral, where analysis can take another turn upon a topic and offer another perspective. Thus, in a discussion on therapy, reflexivity becomes a therapeutic tool with which to confront and quieten the argument that reflexive analysis will result in an infinite regress. The presence of poetry in a social science thesis is intended to challenge conventional sociological and psychological analysis, in which poetry features (if at all) as some kind of social phenomenon, that folk called 'poets' produce, rather than being an appropriate and challenging analytic language, as it is used here. This abstract, given its contents, may be taking its work as a conventional abstract rather seriously. Time for the next turn.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Katie MacMillan

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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