Case History, Case Story: An Enquiry Into the Hermeneutics of C. G. Jung



The case histories written by C. G. Jung, from his 1902 Doctoral Dissertation to his 1950 case of Miss X, are evaluated as pieces of evidence in support of his theories. Evidence is shown to rely for its validity on an ‘evidential context’ which has altered over time. Jung's case histories change over the course of his writings and become more like stories. The reason for this difference is his move from an interpretative schema based on the natural sciences when a psychiatrist, through that of psychoanalysis, to one based on the human sciences, and in particular to one based on hermeneutics - the study of interpretation and meaning - when he developed his theory of analytical psychology. Jung moves from a form of hermeneutics based on what constitutes a ‘valid’ interpretation to one that concentrates on meaning and understanding. In writing his later case histories like stories, Jung is using them as merely part of the wider cultural context of evidence required by analytical psychology rather than as privileged pieces of evidence in themselves.