Gunnar Karlsson, Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, Stockholms universitet

Gunnar Karlsson


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Arbetar vid Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik
Telefon 08-16 38 16
Besöksadress Frescativägen 54
Postadress Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Professor at the Department of Education, Stockholm University, since 2004. Associate professor of Psychology, 1991. I defended my Ph.D-thesis, entitled A phenomenological psychological method: Theoretical foundation and empirical application in the field of decision making and choice, at the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University 1987. I am also a private practicing psychoanalyst and psychotherapist.

Research interests

Psychoanalysis and phenomenology, Sex/gender with focus on masculinity, The epistemological foundation of human sciences, Phenomenology as an empirical project.

My present research is concerned mainly with sex and gender issues from psychoanalytic and phenomenological perspectives. In particular I am interested in investigating the character and psychogenesis of masculinity.

My research during the past few years has been focused on psychoanalysis, where I have used a phenomenological frame of reference in order to discuss important issues for psychoanalysis. An important reference in this context is the book Psychoanalysis in a new light (also published in Swedish Psykoanalysen i ny belysning), which deals with the epistemological foundation of psychoanalysis, such as, for example, the role of consciousness in psychoanalysis, the relationship of consciousness and the unconscious, the sexual drive (libido) as the core of the unconscious, the ground of the libido in pre-scientific sexual life-world experiences and the concept of truth in psychoanalysis, as well as a critique of the so-called "neuropsychoanalysis".

I have worked out an Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method, the so-called EPP-method, which is a combined phenomenological and hermeneutical method. The most thorough presentation of the method is in the book Psychological qualitative research from a phenomenological perspective (published 1993 and a second edition 1995). The EPP-method has been used in many disciplines, such as education, medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology. Apart from applying the EPP-method to decision making and choice, I myself have used it in studying many different phenomena, such as the experience of being blind, the experience of guilt and shame, the psychotic experience.

New publication

Karlsson, G (2019). Det maskulina projektet - Psykoanalytiska och fenomenologiska reflektioner, Östlings Bokförlag Symposion.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2016. Gunnar Karlsson. Journal of consciousness studies 23 (1-2), 179-195

    From a psychoanalytic point of view it is. well established that an early development of a sense of self is crucial to a person's healthy development. At the same time, the psychoanalytic process can to a large extent be described as a deconstruction of narcissistic and illusionary apprehensions of oneself. With this as a background, I want to discuss the notion of self within a psychoanalytic perspective in relationship to the meaning of self and no-self within spiritual traditions. The most striking similarity between psychoanalytical and spiritual practice is identified as the (controlling) ego's surrender or letting go. The article ends with an attempt to characterize the self that is disclosed in the liberating experience of letting go.

  • 2015. Gunnar Karlsson. Filosofi på liv och död
  • 2014. Gunnar Karlsson. Norma 9 (4), 249-268

    In this article the question of phallic masculinity is discussed from a subjective perspective, more specifically from a psychoanalytic perspective supplemented with phenomenological reflections. A vantage point for this discussion is the distinction between sex/being a male and gender/masculinity. The focus is on the boy's/man's striving for a phallic masculine identity – a striving that can be described in terms of a ‘project’. The term ‘project’ indicates that phallic masculinity is a striving for a possibility which is not yet realized, and it is argued, will never be realized, since it essentially entails a denial of our existential conditions such as our vulnerability, transience and dependence. From a psychogenetic point of view phallic masculinity is conceived of as a repudiation of the feminine/motherly containment. The phallic masculine project can be seen as a response to a humiliated narcissistic ego. In the final section, I will discuss the alienating consequences of masculinity as project by means of the concepts ‘immanence’ and ‘transcendence’. Among other things it is argued that the masculine project misses: (1) recognition of the potentiality of an emergent sense of subjectivity made possible by an intersubjective containing experience; (2) recognition of the potentiality of immanence as a source of unconditional joy; (3) recognition of a mutually rewarding, dialectical relationship between immanence and transcendence.

Visa alla publikationer av Gunnar Karlsson vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 27 maj 2019

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