Mannie Sher joined one of our lunchtime talks early this year to discuss his paper on Social Dreaming and the Social Protest Movement.
Mannie’s paper ‘A Tale of One City: Social Dreaming and the Social Protest Movement – Occupy London at Tent City’ was published in Socio-Analysis Journal, (Vol 15), the journal for Group Relations Australia.
Inspired by colleagues in Israel who ran a social dreaming matrix during the social protest movement in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2011, staff of the Tavistock Institute offered a similar social dreaming event to the organisers of Tent City University, the educational arm of the social protest movement, Occupy London.
The purpose of social dreaming is to explore the deeper layers of meaning of social and cultural phenomena through the medium of dreams and associations to dreams. Social dreaming is a method of social enquiry for identifying social and cultural knowledge through the application of a scientific analysis of dreams. The matrix idea was invented by Gordon Lawrence to create a mental space to focus on the content of dreams. In social dreaming the notion of ‘working hypothesis’ is offered as an outline sketch of the situation as participants attempt to arrive at the potential truth of the dream. This comes about because the dream in a matrix is seen as an object in its own right with its infinite psychological, intellectual and spiritual qualities. Instead of the dreamer asking, ‘What does the dream mean for me?’, when a dream is voiced in the matrix, it becomes an object to be owned by all present, able to be freely associated to, able to become an object that can be mentally played with by all the participants.
The role of social media is elaborated through the common experiences of boundarylessness of the social dreaming events, the protest camp at Finsbury Square and cyberspace. Working in fluid conditions, i.e. having no tangible external authority against which to rebel rendered resistance impotent, suggesting that change and growth can only emerge through a dialectic relationship with the ‘denied other’.
Listen to Mannie’s talk.
Recording of the talk
A Tale of One City: Social Dreaming and the Social Protest Movement – Occupy London at Tent City’ (reproduced with thanks to Socio-Analysis Journal).
Mannie Sher is a Principal Consultant at The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, Director of the Group Relations programme and Co-Director of the Executive Coaching course.
Socio-Analysis is an international peer-reviewed journal about groups, organisations and society considered from the systems psychodynamic perspective.
Group Relations Australia
Group Relations Australia is a not-for-profit professional association whose members seek to develop the field of group relations and systems psychodynamics.