Dissertation Title:

The Moral Matrical Complex: A Depth Psychological Inquiry Into the Shadow of Social Work


Cameron Green

Date, Time & Place:

November 2, 2023 at 10:00 am


This dissertation is a depth psychological inquiry into the shadow of social work. The methodology is a phenomenological hermeneutic reading of contemporary texts, including the best-selling memoirs of figures affiliated with the Democrat and Republican political parties—Michelle Obama’s Becoming and J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, respectively—and the foundational documents and recent publications of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). In exploring how social work can respond to the shadow of the American collective consciousness, this inquiry concentrates on the political and religious functions of the psyche manifesting in the post-Jungian concept of the cultural complex. A discourse analysis of these memoirs reveals a striking parallel between the white working-class Appalachians portrayed by Vance and the Black working-class South Chicagoans described by Obama. Through an examination of NASW and CSWE documents, elements of the shadow of social work reveal itself. Ultimately, applying moral foundations theory to the depth psychological understanding of cultural conflict produces a new concept to the cultural complex literature: The Moral Matrical Complex, or the super-cultural complex that forms between two moral matrices locked in opposition. Engagement with the cultural complex with this model can potentially help uncover common moral roots thus defusing the tension of group conflict.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices, H, 2017
  • Chair: Dr. Sabine Oishi
  • Reader: Dr. Indhushree Rajan
  • External Reader: Dr. Diana Rivera
  • Keywords: Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion (ADEI, Council On Social Work Education (CSWE), Critical Race Theory (CRT), Cultural Complex, Depth Psychology, Moral Conflict, Moral Foundations Theory, National Association Of Social Workers (NASW, Violence