‘A Walk 21/1/35’: a psychiatric-psychoanalytic fragment meets the new walking studies

Phelan, S. and Philo, C. (2021) ‘A Walk 21/1/35’: a psychiatric-psychoanalytic fragment meets the new walking studies. Cultural Geographies, 28(1), pp. 157-175. (doi: 10.1177/1474474020956258)

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This paper reconstructs a fragment of psychiatric-psychoanalytical geography, interfacing it with the ‘new walking studies’, centring on a walk conducted in 1935 by a man experiencing mental health problems in Glasgow, Scotland. This man, a patient of the psychiatrist Thomas Ferguson Rodger, had mobility problems that rendered walking difficult – prone to stumbling, staggering, wavering – but with the likelihood of these problems being psychosomatic in origin. Through analytic sessions enacting a kind of ‘make-do’ psychoanalysis, the patient reflected on his mobility problems, as when relating his own walking ‘experiment’. Explanations advanced for his difficulties mixed psychoanalytic tropes with a gathering self-awareness of how fraught childhood experiences, had created the frame for an adult existence continually shying away from wider encounters and challenges beyond the domestic sphere. Central here was forward momentum being lost, whether walking or advancing through a life-course, with material and metaphoric senses of being stalled or stuck – spatially, environmentally – constantly entraining one another. This case study is deployed to illustrate claims about the ‘worlding’ of psychoanalysis, and to offer provocations for how such a psychiatricpsychoanalytic geography fragment might be illuminated by work on the cultural geographies of walking.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Phelan, Miss Sarah and Philo, Professor Christopher
Authors: Phelan, S., and Philo, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Cultural Geographies
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1477-0881
Published Online:09 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cultural Geographies 28(1): 157-175
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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