Chronicles of Melancholia: The Uses of Young Women’s Written Symbolizations

By Nectaria Karagiozis.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is a psychoanalytic inquiry into the dynamics of journal writing about painful realities and explores how the intellectual and emotional processes involved in such form of self expression and representation may be functioning as defence against difficult knowledge. The discussion draws on mainly psychoanalytic theories arguing that the notion of depressive position is linked to such writings and that creative impulses emerge from depressive anxieties. This qualitative inquiry involves female college students who are exploring issues of depression and trauma in their journal writings. The analysis of the questionnaires, in-depth interviews, participants’ journal texts and researcher’s journal text expand our understanding on the uses and functions of the journal writing experiences and the psychic processes that take place in symbolizing traumatic and difficult experiences. The findings of the study attest to the importance of symbol formation as a significant process for the development of ego. Loss, anxiety and guilt are the main triggers of symbol formation and paralysis of this process results from the onset of those feelings in excess. By investigating the psychoanalytic functions of personal writing when it involves pain and difficult realities, this paper registers the how these functions of traumatic writing can inform us about the possibilities of personal expressive narrative engagements.

Keywords: Journal Writing, Psychoanalysis, Symbol Formation, Depression, Women

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp.223-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 495.240KB).

Dr. Nectaria Karagiozis

Replacement Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Nectaria Karagiozis is a Replacement Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education, Canada. She has been interested in issues of reading in relation to identity formation of second language young-aged learners as part of her Master studies. The focus of her Ph.D. research is on the effects of written language representations on the self. More specifically, she is interested in the ways in which the process of socialization and subjectivization takes place and how young women use private writing to defend, to symbolize and to create themselves as females and occupants of gendered identity positions.


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