On disappointment: promoting ordinary conversations in extraordinary times

Scanlon, Christopher (2021) On disappointment: promoting ordinary conversations in extraordinary times. Journal of Psychosocial Studies, 14 (1). pp. 19-32. ISSN 1478-6737

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To be disappointed is to be human, to be disappointing is also to be human. This article will invite reflection upon the under-theorised phenomenon of disappointment and its relationship to ‘failure’, to ‘hope’ and perhaps even ‘forgiveness’ (or the lack if it). The central premise is that to engage with ‘disappointment’ in our internal relatedness, and in our interpersonal and social relationships may enable us to re-connect with our own and others’ humanity ‐ and not to do so is to remain stuck, aggrieved, resentful and locked into cycles of reciprocal self- and other-destructive violence and recrimination. The article will seek to explore disappointment as a ‘disturbance of groupishness’ (Bion, 1961, emphasis added), ‘a location  of  disturbance’ (Foulkes, 1948/1983 emphasis added) and a way of structuring the traumatised organisation-in-the-mind (Armstrong, 2005; Scanlon, 2012). The article will conclude with an invitation for psycho-social practitioners to leave our psycho-social retreats (consulting rooms, libraries, classrooms and the like) and, once again, to engage more deliberatively with conversations in ‘public spheres’ (Habermas, 1968).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Deliberative action, Disappointment, Group analysis, Reflective citizen, Social dreaming
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Group Processes/Group Dynamics
Human Psychological Processes > Strange Environment/Situation
Department/People: Department of Education and Training
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2431

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