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Doctoral Project

Transculturality as a Discursive Bridge-Builder – Carl Gustav Jung’s Catalytic Impact on the Religio-Therapeutic Discourse of the 20th and 21st Centuries
Dimitry Okropiridze (M.A.)

My current research focuses on the figure of Carl Gustav Jung as a transcultural catalyst for the religio-therapeutic discourse. I am particularly interested in the intertwined histories of psychological and religious traditions, which developed since the late 19th century and continue to influence contemporary life-worlds.

C.G. Jung (1875–1961) can be categorized as a religious virtuoso, who aimed at synthesizing empirical science with religion. Even in his earliest lectures, which Jung delivered as a student at his fraternity in the 1890s, his later convictions as to the decisive role of religion for the individual and the collective are palpable. After an intermediate period with Sigmund Freud and their eventual break in 1912, Jung suffers from emotional and mental struggle. In his own narrative, these are the formative years for his successive career. From 1920 Jung goes on to develop his Analytic Psychology, introducing various concepts such as the Collective Unconscious, the Archetypes, and Synchronicity.

The core argument of my dissertation lies in the claim that Jung employs a number of transcultural articulations in order to overcome the Cartesian dualism of mind and body, which extends to the binary of religion and science (i.e. psychology). Two discursive claims – Antimaterialist Science and the Mytho-Poetic Self – underlie Jung’s rhetorical maneuvers permeating his works on yoga, alchemy, and comparative mythology. Their discursive incorporation creates an Orientalist momentum that will allow for a wide acceptance of metaphysical conceptions in therapeutic techniques within and well beyond the Jungian discourse.

The historical and critical analysis of Jung and his seminal influence on later generations of New Agers and religious therapists will generate a deeper understanding of transcultural connections in the 20th century and shed light on the disciplinary role of psychology for the transformation of religion into therapy and vice versa.​