Consumer behavior analysis

A view from psychoanalysis

Authored by: John Desmond

The Routledge Companion to Consumer Behavior Analysis

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415729925
eBook ISBN: 9781315850696
Adobe ISBN: 9781317913467


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Imagine the chance conversation in Purgatory, when Rodrigo Borgia eventually runs into John Knox; what could they possibly say to each other once the introductions are over? Given their history and the ontological and epistemological gulf that separates them, it is perhaps unsurprising that this image sprang to mind as I pondered how possibly to write of a potential encounter between psychoanalysis and consumer behavior analysis. To begin with, all I could think of were their differences; for instance, the behaviorist imperatives of clear-cut observability, objectivity and indubitable proof against psychoanalytic tendencies towards the personal and speculative, which are reflected in the employment of different concepts to describe similar processes (Garvey, 2007). The conservative and parsimonious nature of behaviorism has produced a few firm concepts, while the conceptual profligacy of psychoanalysis has burgeoned from the, at times, antithetical schools of thought spun out from the Freudian mainstream over the years, including Ego Psychology, Object Relations, Lacanian psychoanalysis and Self-Psychology. Where behavior analysis traditionally eschews mentalism, psychic determinism is a key tenet of psychoanalysis; where behavior analysis focuses on situational factors, psychoanalysis argues that subjective meaning is the only route to understand individual suffering.

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