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Keywords:

  • psychoanalysis;
  • qualitative methodology;
  • subjectivity;
  • unconscious

In this article I ask to what extent geographers can draw on psychoanalytic theory when examining interview data. I consider Freud's theory of the mind and its unconscious processes to ask how bringing the unconscious to bear on identity studies potentially impacts qualitative research on subjectivity and identification. Existing geographic debate on psychoanalytic theory and methods provides an organizing framework for my argument. Although the article advocates an ontology of the psychoanalytic subject, I suggest that researchers must avoid psychoanalyzing research subjects. This distinction limits the ways in which scholars can “read” personal narratives for unconscious processes.