Jung in the academy: a response to David Tacey



It is argued that responsibility for academia's disdain for Jungian psychology needs to be accepted by the Jungian community to the extent that it remains unrelated to contemporary literature, academic concerns and modes of enquiry in the social sciences. Several illustrative examples are presented. Of special concern is that the most powerful marketing of the name of Jung comes from American publishing companies that produce New Age Jungian pop, which is, even in Jungian terms, theoretically weak and further damages the academic standing of Jung. Reasons for the relatively good standing of Jungian psychology in South Africa are discussed. Special mention is made of the contributions of Vera Buhrman and several other academics. It is argued, however, that the academic criticisms of Buhrman's cross-cultural writing have merit. In the current intellectual climate in South Africa, Jung's cultural essentialism is anachronistic, and to endorse it will be to forfeit credibility in South African academic circles. In contrast to Tacey it is argued that academic excellence is not to be equated with dispassionate, liberal objectivity and balance. Instead, I argue for the cultural and epistemological importance of our complexes, and for the transformative personal and intellectual significance of falling in love with Jung. This defence of the complexity of knowing and thinking leads into a discussion of the tricksterlike strategies involved in successfully teaching Jungian psychology, for both the sceptical intellectual elite and the star-struck Jungian lovers need to be seduced into richer, more informed thought. It is concluded that the tensions between analytical psychology and related fields in the social sciences need to be more centrally integrated into the Jungian field itself.