The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Countertransference and Understanding Workplace Cataclysm: Intersubjective Knowing and Cultural Knowledge in Interdisciplinary Applied Anthropology

Howard F. Stein

The description of an interdisciplinary interaction (nurse-educator applied anthropologist) shows the value of exploring the subjective response (countertransference) of the applied anthropologist as crucial data about the other, and in turn about workplace cataclysm and wider cultural dynamics. Such concepts as projective identification (Klein, Bion), transitional space (Winnicott), and reverie (Ogden) are discussed in relation to an applied anthropologist’s experience in work-relationships. An extended case study from an interdisciplinary encounter illustrates the operation of countertransference in the ordinary work of an applied anthropologist.

High Plains Applied Anthropologist No. 1, Vol. 19, Spring, 1999 pp 10 – 20

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