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Dissertation Title:

Underlying Patterns in International Relations: The Role of the Unconscious in Cooperation and Conflict


Susan Schumacher Voss

Date, Time & Place:

November 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm
Studio, Lambert Road campus


This research explores the inextricable link between the individual and the collective psychology through the shared ordering principle derived from the underlying image of god representative of the collective religion, spiritual tradition, or ethical beliefs. Per psychologist Carl Jung the image of god is linked to human consciousness and evolves with human consciousness. Using a hermeneutic methodology the role of the god-image is explored as foundational to the creation of a nation’s ordering principles and the basis for the relationship between their political-religious dialectic. The results of the research find that Jung’s model of the psyche is applicable at a national level, that cultural psychology provides invaluable data in modeling international relations, that the god-image is foundational to a nation’s political-religious dialectic, and the god-image and culture are continually evolving synergistic with the individual and the collective. The results further depth psychology by presenting an expanded model of the Self-collective god-image interface, by integrating depth psychology with cultural psychology to identify the unconscious patterns that underlie international relations, and by demonstrating that the evolution of the god-image is a means of collective compensation for overly one-sided beliefs. Analysis of US-Russian relations reveal the two nations are cultural opposites that is the basis for the perceived need for an exaggerated nuclear defense. This research explores the need for kairos as the transformation of the god-image to unite nations around a global and sustainable future.


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  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Track J, 2008
  • Chair: Thomas Elsner, JD
  • Reader: Dr. Alan Kilpatrick
  • External Reader: Dr. James Bradbury
  • Keywords: International Relations, Cultural Psychology, Depth Psychology, God-image