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Psychosocial & Psychoanalytic Studies

The Psychosocial & Psychoanalytic subject guide gives you access to useful library databases and trusted Web resources, relevant for researching many topics in psychoanalysis, analytical psychology and psychosocial studies

Primary Sources

Researchers in psychoanalysis and related fields can make use of a wide range of primary sources, both printed or online, in their research. Some examples of this type of resource include:

  • original books & documents (e.g. the works of Freud, Jung,etc.)
  • personal: autobiographies, correspondence, diaries
  • archives (see next section)
  • audio-visual: advertising, art works, film, music, photographs (see the Sociology subject guide for AV resources)
  • literary works
  • news reports (see the Sociology subject guide for News resources)
  • official: government publications, legal documents (see the Politics subject guide for UK & other countries, and the Law subject guide
  • qualitative data: interviews & recordings, questionnaires (many sources, including the UK Data Archive)
  • social media

Special Collections & Archives

The Library has a number of interesting special collections in Psychoanalysis and related fields, some of which are of considerable importance. A handful are book collections (e.g. Holt), others are archival (e.g. Balint), and the remainder are a mixture of materials (e.g. Freud).

For more information please see the Library's Special Collections web page and accompanying Blog post

Looking beyond Essex, the Library's Archives web page may help point to further resources, notably the portal to collections nationally - Archives Hub

The Institute of Psychoanalysis (British Psychoanalytical Society) has extensive archives including the papers of Ernest Jones, John Rickman, James & Alix Strachey, Sylvia Payne and Michael Balint. It also maintains some useful links to other UK archival collections, including the Wellcome Institute Library, which is an important repository, including the Melanie Klein papers and collections of other analysts

In the US, the Library of Congress has digitised the Sigmund Freud Collection of over 20 000 items including the personal papers of Freud. There is a finding aid and a PDF version. The index to the Freud Letters held by the Library at University of Essex is available from our Special Collections page.

Archives in France include the collection of Françoise Dolto, who was particularly interested in connections between physical and psychic development. See her book The unconscious body image

Digitised Primary Sources

Whilst printed collections & archives remain important, recent years have seen a massive increase in the number of digitised primary sources. Some of these are freely available from sources like national archives, national libraries & research universities, and others can be purchased through commercial vendors who specialise in this area. It might be worth exploring some of the subject guides, in particular History and Sociology, which list many interesting resources.

A few examples include:

Oral History

Oral History sources have the potential to offer rich qualitative data for many types of sociological study, including life course studies, social change, family & personal relations, occupation, leisure, and so forth.

This guide from the UK Data Service is a helpful starting point. See also some of the links to sources on the Social History section of the Sociology subject guide, and on the History subject guide too. 

The archives at Essex contain some important oral history collections, notably the Paul Thompson material in the National Social Policy and Social Change (Qualidata) archive, and the Colchester Recalled Oral History Group digitised recordings. See the Library's Special Collections page for details 

Microform Collections

Before digitisation, the Library acquired large amounts of primary source material on microfilm and microfiche, much of it of potential interest to sociologists.

You can search the Library catalogue by keyword (limit your search to Microforms) to see what we have, or browse a list of the main collections here:

Open Access Sources

An increasing amount of material is being made available open access. Some national & research libraries have taken a lead in this area.

Be aware that some resources appear to be open access, in that they are free to search, but viewing content requires payment.

See More Resources for further listings by subject

Government Publications

For details of UK government publications please see the Politics subject guide

For details of official publications from the UN and other international agencies see the Law subject guide and the Politics subject guide