Although the term psychoanalysis may lead some to think about the field of psychology, it is important to understand that psychoanalysis deals with the field of communication as well, specifically media studies. Psychoanalysis began with Sigmund Freud in the late 1800s and spawned similar theories from other psychologists like Carl Jung. In its most basic sense, psychoanalysis is a way to study mental and psychic properties that cannot be studied in other ways. According to this theory, the psyche influences a person’s ideas, actions, and personality and it made up of three things, the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is a person’s basic desires and drives and the superego is a person’s high morals standards and values. The ego balances the id and superego. This is relevant to media studies because it is important to be able to read different texts, or acts of communications, through a psychoanalytical standpoint. One article, Not Enough Graduates Know About Freudian Subtext in ‘Alien 3’, Say Employers, satirizes the idea of applying psychoanalysis to media studies.
This article jokingly discusses the importance, or lack there of, of psychoanalysis in media studies. The article begins by stating that not enough students are studying media studies and that the United Kingdom is falling between in the number of students choosing to study media studies. However, the article satirizes the importance of psychoanalysis and being able to apply it to different forms of media, such as movies. Basically, it tries to expose the ridiculousness and uselessness of being able to apply this theory to media. The article even interviewed a media studies student who agreed that understanding psychoanalysis in this way will in no way assist in him becoming employed anywhere but Starbucks after college.
Although this article is completely over the top and does a good job at making it’s point, I believe that psychoanalysis does have a place in media studies and is important. Like the article states, it is unlikely that someone will want to know about the sexism in Pacman simply “because it’s really interesting”. However, I believe it is important to understand psychoanalysis to better understand society and its values and ideals. One may not be able to make a complete career out of it, but with an understanding of psychoanalysis, one can do the best at his or her job. For example, a job in advertising could benefit from the understanding of psychoanalysis by better targeting its audience. Overall, the article does make a good point that psychoanalysis can seem silly and obsolete, but it does have a place in media studies.