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Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 38:4 00218308

Social Representations and Repression: Examining the First Formulations of Freud and Moscovici
Michael Social Representations and Repression OriginalThe Author Journal compilation The Executive Management Committee/Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008 XXX 2008 Article 1468-5914 0021-8308 Journal Billig JTSB for Oxford, UK the Theory of Blackwell Publishing Ltd Social Behaviour

MICHAEL BILLIG

Questions of historical origins are central to the theory of social representations. Moscovici (1984), in his essay The phenomenon of representations, wrote that if one wanted to understand a particular representation, it was necessary to start with the representation or representations from which it is born (p. 13). This is what makes the English translation of Moscovicis great work on psychoanalysis both untimely and timely. In an obvious sense, it is untimely because it is so long overdue. Since 1961, when the book rst appeared, various French psychology books of far less intellectual importance have been translated into English. But, in a deeper sense, the delay is timely. Its current re-publication encourages us now to reect historically on the representations from which the theory of social representations was born. At the minimum this means reecting on the main thesis of Moscovicis Psychoanalysisnamely, the representation of psychoanalysis in popular culture. To follow Moscovicis own recommendation, we should seek to understand this representation historically. This means we should reect upon the origins of psychoanalysis and, in particular, examine what representations of the world were involved in these origins. As will be suggested, it is possible to nd processes, which Moscovici located in the passage of psychoanalysis into commonsense, occurring within psychoanalysis before it entered popular culture. This has signicance for Moscovicis thesis about the relations between science and commonsense in contemporary society. In addition, the re-publication is timely, because it should encourage us to reect on the origins of the theory of social representations itself. If social psychologists are to be truly historical, they should do more than examine the historical origins of the ideas that they study. They should also self-reexively examine the historical origins of their own ideas (Billig, 2008). When Moscovici wrote Psychoanalysis, there was no network of researchers self-consciously promoting the study of social representations. There were no social representation summer schools, conferences or doctoral programmes. Today the editors of Papers on Social Representations can address the social representation community (Editors, 2003,
2008 The Author Journal compilation The Executive Management Committee/Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

Repression, Key words: edition of key relation psychoanalytic theory could never be univocal for incorporated the voices Repression: examining rst formulations rst formulations of theMoscovicis classic concept psycho-analysis, Freud, of psychoanalysis enables us to reect on the and their representations of the world. An examination of of social representation. these notions, complex. Moreover, nominalization, of social representation theory is to be Representations andof patients historical origins that some of the ideas and which Moscovici attributes to the passage of claimed that ideas to commonsense, can be found occur in these respects, of psychoanalysis. language of science. Examples are given in relation to the Theconcept social representations, to Moscovicis therepression. Some comparisonsitare found in Freuds rst formulations. It is suggestedof psychoanalytic processes, of social representation theory reveals furtherpsychoanalytic science was both the action abstract of ordinary life and the it differs from the social representations of commonsense. This paper explores ABSTRACT of especially in psychoanalyticwork on claim that psychoanalytic complex Socialmade between Freuds rst formulations of repression and Moscovicis rst formulations Studies on Hysteria itself. Moscovicimultivocality as Freud usesboth univocal andlanguage and, in the early history reied, nominalizedThis can be seen in Freuds criticisms of the way Jung used the English

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p. 3.1). The journey of social representation from a nominal, denoting a supposed entity in the social world, to social representation as an adjective, describing a particular community, approach or theory, had not yet been made. Moscovicis arguments about the diffusion of scientic ideas point reexively to his own rst book as a resource for examining the birth of an idea that has become more than an ideathat has become the identity for a community of academics. Accordingly, the tardy re-publication of Psychoanalysis, appearing as it does in a very different intellectual climate from its rst edition, offers the opportunity, not just for looking at the origins of psychoanalysis and social representation theory, but for comparing the historical transformations of both.

SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Moscovicis Psychoanalysis is a deeply historical work. It concerns the movement of science into common-sense, as ideas pass from the world of scientists into the wider society. The book is also a historical study of contemporary society. Moscovici suggested that today commonsense is infused with concepts that originated in scientic theories. This makes contemporary representations different from those of traditional societies which had no formal sciences. It is not merely the content of todays representations that is entirely new, but so are the means of their diffusion. Radio and magazinesand when Moscovici conducted his original research, television was not the cultural force that it has now becomepromote entertaining controversies. They are not disseminating a unied view of the world, in the way that propagandists attempted. Disagreement and debate sell newspapers and attract listeners. We live in an age of atomised opinions, rather than structured ideologies. In consequence, commonsense contains new forms of entity namely, social representations which differ from the collective representations that Durkheim studied in traditional societies. The evidence for this bold, historical thesis lay in Moscovicis analysis of psychoanalytic terminology. Moscovici took psychoanalysis as an example of a science whose ideas were spreading to the population at large. He was arguing that, in the years following the Second World War, commonsense in France had incorporated concepts from psychoanalysis. This incorporation involved more than a transfer of ideas from one domain to another. Psychoanalytic ideas were transformed as they entered public debate, for the journey from science to social representation made the abstract concrete and the strange familiar. At the root of this thesis lay a contrast between science and common sense. In the Preliminary remarks, Moscovici declared that gradually or suddenly, depending upon the country, regime or social class, psychoanalysis descended from the heaven of ideas and entered into the life, thoughts, behaviour, habits and the world of conversations of a great number of individuals (2008, p. xxv, emphasis in original). The metaphor echoed Marx and Engelss claim in The German Ideology
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that the philosophy of the German idealists descends from the heavens to earth (1846/1970, p. 47). Whereas Marx and Engels were arguing that any philosophy descending from the heavens would misunderstand the nature of ordinary life, Moscovici was suggesting that, by descending from the heavens, science enters into everyday lifeit becomes a part of what Marx and Engels referred to as the life-process. This image of descent contains two elements: science as an abstraction, emerging from the unworldly heavens, and commonsense rooted into worldly life of people. In the Preliminary remarks, Moscovici comments of social representations that their role is to shape something that is given from the outside (p. xxx). In this way, Moscovici was depicting science as something that existed separately from commonsense. In an obvious sense, this was an exaggeration. The world of science is not divorced from the world of common sense. As has been repeatedly shown, scientists must use ordinary language when they deal with colleagues, run their laboratories, explain away the theories of rivals, even when they write their technical papers etc (e.g., Davis and Hersh, 1990; Gilbert and Mulkay, 1984; Latour and Woolgar, 1986; Mulkay, 1991; Woolgar, 1988). Vaihinger (1935) observed a number of years ago that science needs ctional exaggerations in order to advance. Most notable theories in psychology start their existence as exaggerationsFreudian psychoanalysis, Skinnerian behaviourism, cognitive dissonance, Piagetian theory etc. Later researchers can add the qualications and limitations, rather like accountants balancing the books. Similarly, the theory of social representations begins with a creative exaggeration. As if to counterbalance his exaggeration, Moscovici (1984) later commented that science draws on commonsense, making it less common. He might equally have said that science makes commonsense less sensible (in both meanings of the word). Nevertheless, the original emphasis on the movement from science to commonsense has continued. Volklein and Howarth (2005) observe that later social representation researchers have rarely examined how social representations inuence science, rather than vice versa. Moscovici did not dene the differences between science and commonsense. Indeed, he has consistently resisted offering denitions for his key concepts, suggesting that denitions typically constrain the theoretical imagination (Moscovici, 1985). This is one reason why he was unconcerned whether psychoanalysis really was or was not a science. Nevertheless, in Psychoanalysis Moscovici made a number of distinctions between science and commonsense. He claimed that scientic ideas stand in need of verication, while social representations, being embodied in social life, produce their own concrete examples (p. 112f ). He also suggested that sciences are abstractions, although typically they do not originate in abstract thinking (pp. 212). Social representations, by contrast, move in the opposite direction by translating the abstract into the concrete (pp. 678). There is a further difference of great signicance. Science, according to Moscovici, is univocal: it does not permit the co-existence of contradictions (p. 178). On the other hand, commonsenseand especially the commonsense of contemporary societiesis
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multivocal. It is characterised by cognitive polyphasia (pp. 190ff; for a discussion of this concept, see Jovchelovitch, 2006). The idea that commonsense contains opposing, contradictory themes is not new. It can be found in ancient rhetorical theory. Opposing topoisuch as those of justice/mercy, or courage/foolhardiness belong to the sensus communis, or shared sense of the community (Billig, 1996). Everyday thinking and dialogue depend on the existence of contradictory themes. In this matter, there is no disagreement between social representation theory and rhetorical theorysomething that Moscovici has acknowledged (Moscovici, 2000, pp. 1478; see also Markov, 2005). However, the general contrast between the supposed univocality of science and the multivocality of commonsense contains a number of difculties.

PSYCHOANALYSIS AND MULTIVOCALITY

Psychoanalysis provides Moscovicis object of study, not its means of analysis, as was noted by Daniel Lagache in his preface to Psychoanalysis. For example, Moscovici does not offer psychoanalytic explanations to account for the loss of libidinal themes as psychoanalysis moves from theory to representation. This leads to a curious situation. Moscovici presents psychoanalysis as rst and foremost, a science or a theory (p. 57, emphasis in original). He also assumes that social psychology is a science. But if the theory of social representations and psychoanalytic theory are both scientic theories, how can they produce very different accounts when they study the same object? Of course, the simple answer is that the world of science contains different theories. Each theory may be consistent within itself and, thus, constitute a univocal theoretical structure (p. 178). These various theories may contradict each other, lling the world of science with debate and controversy. If the law of contradiction is the dominant feature of scientic thinking, then scientists cannot permit the equality of contradictory scientic theories. They will assume that one theorytheir theorywill eventually prove its competitors to be mistaken. This is how scientists think in practice about their own theories and those of rivals (Gilbert and Mulkay, 1984). Yet, Moscovici, by theoretically assuming that both psychoanalysis and social psychology are sciences, rather than rivals in a zero-sum game, is expressing the multivocality of non-scientic thinking. At the same time, when explaining phenomena, he acts as if his own version of non-psychoanalytic social psychology produces univocally superior interpretations. In this regard, his work multivocally expresses both multi- and univocality. Matters become more complicated with respect to Moscovicis representation of psychoanalytic theory as scientic. If the movement from science to social representation is the movement from the abstract to the concrete, then psychoanalytic theory needs to be shown as an abstract theory. Moscovici draws parallels between psychoanalytic and Newtonian theories (pp. 57ff ). The various
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theoretical elements of Newtonian theory are held together by the unifying principle of gravitation. Moscovici writes that libido is to psychoanalysis what universal gravitational theory is to the Newtonian system. Then he adds the all-important caveat or at least Freuds rst formulations (whose presence we note in our society) were based upon that fundamental phenomenon (p. 57). The caveat seems both to save and defeat the principle that Moscovici is proposing. The obvious problem with the principle was noted by Lagache, who observed that Moscovici was proposing the libidinal model as the prime psychoanalytic theory (p. xx). However, according to Lagache, this distorted the situation for there are many different psychoanalytic theories, including some that explicitly rejected the primacy of the libido. Lagache did not elaborate the point. A whole peloton of important psychoanalytic theorists criticised Freud for exaggerating the importance of the libido: Adler, Jung, Horney, Lacan, Reik, Fromm etc and etc. Instead of accepting psychoanalysis as multivocal, Moscovici appeals to Freuds rst formulations to establish the primacy of libidinal theory (p. 57). Thus, he enlists history to rescue the law of contradiction. The different versions of psychoanalytic theory may indeed contradict each other, but the psychoanalytic theorythe one that has been diffused into wider societyis to be found in Freuds early work. Quite apart from other problems to be discussed later, there is one obvious difculty. Moscovici assumes that the Freudian theoryas opposed to other versionshas found its way into commonsense. Yet, the very distinguishing feature of that theoryits libidinal principleis exactly what has failed to pass into common sense. This means that the social representation of psychoanalysis is closer to the theories of Adler, Fromm and Horney than it is to those of Freud. One might ask whether the loss of the libidinal theory in the public representation of psychoanalysis is actually the result of theory being translated to the world of concrete lifeor whether loss has occurred already within the psychoanalytic world. There is evidence that early in the development of psychoanalysis the iconic symbol of Freud had become detached from Freuds original formulations and attached to scientic offspring. The peloton, cited above, all cycle in Freudian team-colours. Lacan, despite abandoning some of Freuds core assumptions and his style of reasoning, claimed to be returning to Freud. Horney in New Ways in Psychoanalysis rejected Freuds emphasis on the libido, but nevertheless located her own ideas as Freudian, claiming to follow the imperishable values Freud has given to psychology and psychiatry (1939, p. 18). Fromms position was similar. If, according to Moscovici, the passage from scientic theory to social representation lost the notion of libido, then it saw another concept gaining in prominencethe concept of a complex. Its meaning also changed. Complex became drained of its specic theoretical meaning to become more concrete, as ordinary people talked generally about inferiority complexes or timidity complexes. In this way, the term complex was materialized (p. 68). Its importance expanded to become emblematic of the whole of psychoanalysis. Thus, Moscovici
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writes that the entire social representation of psychoanalysis is, as it were, concentrated in this notion and assimilated to it (p. 158). To attribute this change in the meaning of complex just to the journey from science to social representation may be historically too simple. Freud, in his History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, complained about the way that Jung had popularised the word complex. It is worth spelling out Freuds complaint. According to Freud, the word complex had not produced a psychological theory, nor was it easily assimilated into psychoanalytic theory; yet the word complex . . . has become naturalized, so to speak, in psychoanalytic language. It has become, he wrote, a convenient short-hand: none of the other terms coined by psychoanalysis for its own needs has achieved such widespread popularity or been so misapplied to the detriment of the construction of clearer concepts. Thus, analysts speak of a return of a complex when they should refer to the return of the repressed; or they say I have a complex against him, when, according to Freud, the only correct expression would have been a resistance against him (Freud, 1914/1993, p. 87). In the context of Moscovicis Psychoanalysis, the passage is extraordinary. Freud was writing just before the First World War, almost ten years before he began using the theoretical terms id and superego. It was a time when the psychoanalytic movement was still comparatively small. Yet, Freud, in criticising how psychoanalysts were using the word complex, was using virtually identical terms to the way that Moscovici would depict the way that the word was being used in French popular culture following the Second World War. Freud was noting the words popularity (at least among psychoanalysts), its lack of theoretical specicity and the way that it had become naturalized (or, to use, Moscovicis preferred term, objectied). Freud, unlike Moscovici, was deploring these linguistic developments, holding Jung and his followers to blame. It is signicant that Freud could complain that this was happening within the world of psychoanalysis before psychoanalysis had become an important element of popular culture. This suggests that science and popular culture may not be entirely distinct, but both may be affected by similar linguistic and social processes.

FIRST FORMULATIONS AND MULTIVOCALITY

Moscovici recommended that we should turn to Freuds rst formulations to see the science of psychoanalysis. Where should we nd Freuds rst formulations? The obvious place is Freuds rst book, Studies on Hysteria, (published in 1895). It was here that Freud introduced the concept of repression, which he would describe as the corner-stone on which the whole structure of psychoanalysis rests (1914/1993, p. 73). The notion of the unconscious, which also rst appeared in Studies, depends upon repression, for the unconscious comprises that which is repressed. This is why some scholars have seen Studies as containing the
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essential ideas of psychoanalysis (e.g., Billig, 1999; Grubrich-Simitis, 1997; Grnbaum, 1998). Freud, in his preface to the second edition, was to be more ambivalent, notably because, when he wrote Studies, he had not yet developed his theory of infant sexuality. Studies is not a univocal work, quite apart from the obvious fact of having two authors, Freud and Joseph Breuer. Only the rst theoretical section was jointly written by the two. The other sections can be attributed to one or the other. In another respectand more importantly so for the present argumentStudies is multivocal. It contains theoretical sections, describing the mental operations underlying of hysteria, but the core of the book comprises ve case historiesone written by Breuer and four by Freud. In many respects, the style, structure and language of the case histories differ from the theoretical sections. Freud, after outlining the story of the nal casehistory, commented on his style of writing. He mentions that he had not always been a psychotherapist but had trained as a neuropathologist: It still strikes me as strange that the case histories I write should read like short stories and that, as one might say, they lack the serious stamp of science (1895/1991, p. 231). He added that the nature of the subject is evidently responsible for this, rather than any preference of my own (p. 231). Certainly, Freuds case histories have a wonderful, literary quality. Because of the richness of their detail and their narrative power, later analysts have returned to them again and again, claiming to discover new secrets about the patients, about Freud and about the nature of psychoanalysis. None of this would have been possible had the case histories resembled the sort of short diagnoses and descriptions of treatment that came to characterise many psychoanalytic case histories after psychoanalysis became well established (Meehl, 1990). It would not have been possible for Freud to have summarised the condition of those early patients in conventional psychoanalytic terminology, for he had not yet invented that terminology. The accounts had to be concrete and extended, lled with detail. For this, the style needed to follow literary ction rather than medical report. Freuds early case histories should not be treated as if they belonged to a pre-scientic stage before psychoanalysis emerged as a proper, univocal, abstract science. Case histories are integral to psychoanalysis. As Moscovici noted, science stands in need of verication. Case histories provide the verication for psychoanalytic theory. This means that psychoanalysis never was separate from the world of commonsense and social representations. Its object of study was the world of ordinary people; and its means of study was conversation. Ordinary people needed to bring their representations into the laboratory, and the analyst needed to re-present those representations back to them. The consulting-room was psychoanalysiss laboratory. There could be no control group, from which social representations were excluded. Such a control group would have been a silent consulting roomand that would have constituted a poor scientic test of the talking cure.
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The cases histories in Studies took place before Freuds reputation was made even in the small Viennese circles from which his early patients came. When those rst patients came to Freud, they had little notion what to expect; nor, in truth, did their doctor. Word would soon spread about the spectacular successes of the young nerve doctor. By October 1907, when Ernst Lanzer, the Rat Man, started treatment, things were different. He came to Freud expecting to talk about his sexual experiences and began doing so in the rst session (1909/1991, p. 39). Freud, in the published case history, records that he had asked the young man why he thought he should be talking about sex. Ernst answered that although he had not read any of Freuds books, a little while earlier he had been turning over the pages of one of my books and he had come across the explanation of some curious verbal associations (pp. 3940). These so reminded him of his own thoughts that he had decided to consult Freud. Fortuitously the notes that Freud wrote after each sessionhis process noteshave survived for this case. These reveal that Freuds published account was downplaying Lanzers knowledge of psychoanalysis. The process notes show Lanzer claiming to have read parts of Freuds Psychopathology of Everyday Life (Hawelka, 1974, p. 63). In the second session, the patient praised Freud for his ideas; Freud noted that he had read an extract from my theory of dreams (Hawelka, 1974, p. 53). The patients, of whom Freud wrote in Studies, did not spontaneously talk about their sexual feelings. Freud had to approach such personal matters delicately. Even then, some were reluctant to talk openly. One of the patients was not even a patient. Katherina was the teenage daughter of an inn-keeper whose establishment Freud visited when climbing mountains during his summer break. The young girl had served him lunch and then asked him whether he was a doctor, having, she said, seen his signature in the visitors book. She has having problems with her nerves and her local doctor had not really helped. Clearly, the young country girl knew nothing of Freuds work. But the Viennese patients of Studies could not have glanced at, let alone read, any Freudian books, as none existed. The theories could not pre-date the cases, for the patients and their talk were helping their doctor to create the theory. This is why those early cases are so signicant. By the time Lanzer began his treatment, Freuds ideas were becoming known in psychoanalytic circles. Freud and Jung had met earlier in the year that Lanzer began his treatment. Freud was greatly impressed by the young Swiss doctor (see, for instance, Gay, 1995, pp. 197ff ). Jung had not behaved entirely differently from Lanzer. Jung had read some of Freuds works and written to him, the difference being that Jung contacted Freud as a fellow psychiatrist rather than as a potential patient, although many followers were to contact Freud hoping that the great man would analyse them personally. It would only take a few years before Freud would be accusing Jung of naturalizing the concept of complex. By 1907 some patients like Lanzer may have read some of Freuds works; others might have known someone who knew someone who had read a book by Freud; or they knew someone who had been treated by Freud; and some belonged
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to the growing circle of Freuds followers. All these patients would have some idea what to expect when they came to the consulting-room and lay down on the couch. None could be as innocent as Katherina, serving Freud his dinner in the remote mountain inn. Psychoanalytic ideas were spreading, albeit slower than Freud would have wished and less extensively than they would do in the years to come. The diffusion of psychoanalytic ideas did not just run from theory to public representation, from abstraction to concreteness, or from Freud to the outside world. Lanzers understandings and misunderstandings would feed back into psychoanalytic theory. When Freud published the case history, he claimed that it permitted him to develop theoretically the rst observations on the subject of obsessional neurosis that he had made (1909/1991, p. 36). He hoped that the publication would be a starting-point for the work of other investigators (p. 38). As it was, the case-history became a classic in the history of psychoanalysis. Accordingly, Lanzers ways of representing the world were to become a powerful source of verication for psychoanalysts. His was the classic case showing that repressed desires lay at the root of obsessional neurosis. Lanzers contribution was more than that of an object to be studied, as if he were a chemical solution in a test-tube or specimen under a microscope. He was an active participant, not just in providing the details of life, but also in the ways of understanding those details. In this respect, he was a contributor to the development of theory. He supplied the phrase the omnipotence of thought to describe his obsession that his private thoughts could affect the events of the world. Later Freud would use this phrase in Totem and Taboo to explain the obsessive nature of religious thinking. Religious believers, like obsessive neurotics, are convinced that their thoughts can determine whether good or evil events occur. Freud described this as omnipotence of thought, writing that it was not he but his highly intelligent patient, who had coined the phrase as an explanation of all the strange and uncanny events by which he, like others aficted with the same illness, seemed to be pursued (Freud, 1913/1990, p. 143). If psychoanalysis was to become an abstract science, as Moscovici argued, it needed its verifying data. The patientstheir voices, their ways of talking, their common and not so common ways of understandingprovided the data. But they did more than that. They were active participants in the conversations that formed the basis of psychoanalysis. Their words were central to the creation of psychoanalysis as a science. In this respect, psychoanalysis could never be univocalit had to be multi-voiced or multivocal.

ACTION AND SCIENTIFIC LANGUAGE

There is a deeper, rhetorical level at which psychoanalytic theory has tended to be multivocal. Not only can the voices of scientist (or doctor) and patient be heard, but the psychoanalytic scientist does not speak (or write) in a single voice.
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Two different psychoanalytic voices can be broadly distinguished. As Freud noted, his case histories read like short stories. These stories demand to be written in the sort of language that Roy Schafer (1976), in an important revision of psychoanalytic theory, called action language. This is principally the language of ordinary life: it is the language which tells us what people do. By contrast, there is also a technical language which outwardly parades the stamp of serious science. When used to describe peoples actions, Schafer calls this a reied language. Instead of attributing acts to people, this language ascribes them to forces, energies and other biological or psychic entities. Schafer argued that this language has been disastrous for the development of psychoanalytic theory. It draws attention away from what people actually do and it assumes that their ways of thinking are governed by unseen mechanical entities. Linguists have identied two important features of scientic language. Scientic writers tend to favour nominalizations, or a preference for using nouns, rather than verbs, to denote processes; and they tend to use passive, rather than active, sentences (e.g. Goatly, 2007; Halliday and Martin, 1993). As critical discourse analysts have pointed out, there are ideological dangers in using nominalization and passivization, for, by using these forms, writers/speakers can avoid describing how people perform actions (Fowler et al., 1979; Fowler, 1991; Lemke, 1995). When human or social scientists use this sort of language, their analyses can often be ambiguous (Billig, in press, a; in press, b; but see Fairclough, in press; van Dijk, in press). Writers use technical nominals to denote abstract entities, but it can be unclear whether such entities are believed to exist in a realistic or in a metaphorical sense. What exactly is a cognitive representation? Is it, to use the words of Vaihinger, a theoretical ction, which psychologists have invented as a metaphorical as-if to stimulate insight? Or do human scientists believe such representations actually exist? If so, where and how, do they exist? Researchers, following conventional experimental paradigms, often forget to detail exactly what it is about peoples actionstheir ways of representing the worldthat led observers to assume the existence of cognitive representations in the rst place. Instead a research tradition develops, and a community of researchers takes for granted the existence of non-observable, ctional entities. The Studies contains both action and reied language, as Freud talks about people and about their presumed unconscious, biological mechanisms of mind. The former language is not conned to the case histories and the latter to the theoretical sections. Instead, the two voices are interconnected. As Moscovici suggested, the rst formulations are particularly revealing. So it is interesting to examine Freuds rst use of repression (Verdrngung). Signicantly the rst use comes, not as a nominal (repression) but as an active verb (repressing). The opening section, written jointly with Breuer, discusses the traumas underlying neuroses: It was a question of things which the person wished to forget, and therefore intentionally repressed from his conscious thought (1895/1990, p. 61; 1895/1952, p. 89). Here, the authors do not use the
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noun repression (Verdrngung). The verb indicates an action that a person performs: the person can push aside thoughtsverdrngteand does so intentionally absichtlich. In the case histories, we can see Elisabeth von R struggling to dispel from her own mind the shameful thought that she desired her sisters husband. Her symptoms are a way of distracting herself and others. Repressing, here, is not merely a human action; it is an all too human failing. Repression, as the noun derived from the verb verdrngen (to push aside), makes its appearance later in the case history of Lucy R., which was written wholly by Freud:
(A)n idea must be intentionally repressed from consciousness and excluded from associative modication. In my view, the intentional repression is also the basis for the conversion, whether total or partial, of the sum of excitation. The sum of excitation, being cut off from psychical association, nds its way all the more easily along the wrong path to a somatic innervation (1895/1990, pp. 1812, emphasis in English translation but not in original German text: 1895/1952, p. 174).

In this passage, Freud starts by using repress as a verb, again with the adverb intentionally (absichtlich), but this time in the passive tense. Instead of writing that a person intentionally represses an idea, he writes of an idea being intentionally repressed (verdrngt), thereby omitting the human agent, who might be doing the repressing. Then Freud moves from passive verb to nominalization. Repression ( Verdrngung) is the subject of the following sentence, which includes two other abstract nominals, both denoting processesconversion (Konversion) and excitation (Erregungssumme: or excitation-sum). In the next sentence Freud describes how the sum of excitation does somethingnamely, nding its way along a path to a somatic innervation (krperlichen Innervation). Freud has made a move from action language to reied, nominalized language. The actor now is not a person but a processa supposed, but unspecied, process of excitation. This is certainly not the language of short stories. Despite its technical quality, this language is actually quite vaguewhat and how things are being converted, excited, innervated is unclear. What exactly is this sum of excitation? It is described as being cut off from psychical association (psychische Assoziation), as if it could be associated with psychical, non-material entities, but it is also described as nding its way to something material or bodily (krperlichen). Is it a neurological phenomenon? How is it to be identied? How does it go about nding its way? Freud does not say. The paradox is that ordinary language can be quite specic when describing human action whereas technical, scientic sounding language is frequently imprecise, especially when used to explain human actions. There is a cost in moving towards the reied language. Repression is posited as a thing that does hidden bodily tasks. This way of representing psychoanalytic processes draws attention away from what the person actually has to do in order to accomplish the task of repressing. In consequence, there is a large gap in Freuds theorising (Billig, 1999). He does not specify the skills that the person needs to acquire to be
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able to repress. In Freuds developmental theory, it is as if the biological engine of repression automatically starts up when the child is at the Oedipal stage. Even in his case history of Little Hans, Freud does not observe how the parents are teaching the child that ideas should be pushed from his mind, and demonstrating by their own actions how this might be done (Billig, 1999, chapter ve). Much of this repressing is not consciously intentional, as Freud and Breuer might have implied in their rst formulation, but it is subtly habitual; in this way it is unselfconsciously learned, practised and transmitted.

REPRESSING AND REPRESENTING

Are there parallels between the linguistic history of the concepts of repression and social representation? This is a big question that requires detailed study in its own right. But a few very brief suggestions are possible. Moscovicis rst formulations of social representation do not begin with an active verb (social representing) and then move to the technical nominal. The rst sentence of the rst chapter of Psychoanalysis is a bold statement of existence: Social representations are almost tangible entities (p. 1). The existence of social representations is not a hypothesis to be tested. As Vaihinger (1935) noted, scientists do not propose their ctional entities as hypotheses. They knowingly propose them as if they exist, using metaphor as integral to creativity. Thus, Moscovici claims that social representations are almost tangible. He knows that they are not actually tangible, but he is treating them as if they are actually existing entities. The second sentence of this rst chapter makes social representations the grammatical subject of actions: They circulate ceaselessly in our day-to-day world, intersect and crystallize through a word, a gesture, an encounter (p. 1). The metaphor of social representations doing things continues throughout Psychoanalysis.1 There is a parallel with Freud and repression. Both emphasise the entity, rather than the activity. Certainly at times in Psychoanalysis, Moscovici mentions the activity of representing but overwhelmingly he concentrates on the entities the social representations. This has continued in later research. It is rare for a member of the social representation community to focus on the activity of social representing rather than on the entity (see, for example, Valsiner, 2003). As the term social representation circulates, its non-metaphorical reality becomes rmly established, just as repression did with psychoanalysts. In this, there is a historical movement from scientic metaphor to realism. As Moscovici notes in a phrase that echoes Vaihinger, at least in spirit, a metaphor is a young analogy and when it is mature it becomes a hypothesis (2008, p. 356). However, the hypothesis is rarely tested as such, for the existence of the entities, whose reality might be hypothesised, is taken for granted. In this regard, objectication can be observed within the world of science, which is always more than just a scientic world. The social representation community cannot treat the existence
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of social representations as a mere hypothesis that has to be tested, any more than practising psychoanalysts could treat the existence of repression or the unconscious as just hypotheses. These particular communities require their members to hold certain existential beliefs; otherwise the communities would not exist as communities. Members are expected to employ regularly their special words of identity in their ofcial discourse. Members of the social representation community must repeat the phrase social representation, as Freudians must repeat repression, id and Oedipal stage. If such words have become almost magical, their magic lies in the way that they are held to represent literal truths. Without the ritual repetition members risk being ostracised by their community. But that is another story. Michael Billig Department of Social Sciences Loughborough University Leicestershire LE11 3TU m.g.billig@lboro.ac.uk

NOTE
1 This is also true of the second part of Psychoanalysis, in which Moscovici examines systems of communication, rather than social representations per se. Again nouns predominate over verbs. He discusses diffusion rather than people diffusing, propagation rather than propagating etc. When Moscovici claims that diffusion, propagation and propaganda have goals (p. 282), these processes appear as actors (rather than those who diffuse, propagate or propagandise). The same points, which Billig (in press a; in press b) addresses to the way that linguists use terms such as nominalization and passivization, apply equally when Moscovici writes that tautologization organizes and crystallizes the representation (p. 331). A presumed linguistic process, rather than specic speakers/writers, seems to be performing the action of organizing. When analysts use this sort of phrasing, they assume the existence of the entities to which they referin this case tautologization and representation. Here, we are no nearer to examining closely and specifying exactly what a speaker/writer has to do in order to be said to be socially representing.

REFERENCES
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