Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter develops a concept of epistemic anxiety and explores its particular relevance to educational settings and to wider contexts in contemporary society. The idea brings into conjunction two significant psychoanalytical ideas. The first is that of the epistemophilic instinct proposed, following Freud’s reflections on anxiety, by Melanie Klein and developed by Wilfred Bion into a theory of thinking and its relations to love and hate. The second is the theory of unconscious social defences against anxiety which first evolved within the Tavistock tradition of psychoanalytic social research in the 1950s and has recently been subject to reappraisal and new applications. Its argument is that epistemic anxiety frequently arises in learning situations, and that learning and thinking can be facilitated if this is understood.

Keywords: epistemophilic instinct, unconscious anxiety, social defences, learning difficulties, Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.