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A general mechanism by which some mental representation comes to stand for some other thing, class of things, or attribute of something.



The notion that dreams provide an avenue for the expression of normally repressed desires while simultaneously disguising and censoring our real urges was systematically formulated by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. In Freud’s view, the purpose of dreams is to allow us to satisfy in fantasies the instinctual urges that society judges to be unacceptable, such as the urge to seduce or kill someone. If, however, we were to dream about an actual seduction or an actual assault, the emotions evoked by the dream would awaken us. So that our sleep is not continually disturbed by such dreams, the mind modifies and disguises their content so that strong emotions are not evoked. Freud referred to the process of censoring and transforming dream contents into less disturbing images as the dreamwork and explicitly identified five processes through which dreams are censored: displacement, condensation, symbolization, projection, and secondary revision.

In symbolization, as the name suggests, the repressed urge is acted out in a symbolic manner. During the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in which Freud lived, overt expressions of sexuality were generally frowned upon in polite society. Hence many of Freud’s patients suffered from repressed sexual desires, and he was able to study many dreams in which these forbidden urges were covertly expressed. Freud found that almost anything long and protruding could represent a male organ, and anything concave and receptive could represent the female. Thus, a dream in which a male was pouring champagne out of a bottle into a glass held by a female might symbolize sexual intercourse. Even something more subdued, such as inserting a key into a keyhole, might have the same meaning, depending on the dreamer and on the other elements of the dream. Other kinds of repressed desires, particularly aggressive urges, can be expressed indirectly in dreams through the mechanism of symbolization.

References in periodicals archive ?
Such references are used when attaching symbolic meaning to terms through both prospective and retrospective symbolization.
SYMBOL OF SUCCESS I employed symbolization, quality optics, and good glassing techniques to make out this fine Sitka buck bedded in a tangle of alders.
These partial symbolizations can manifest t hemselves among parents as silences or enigmatic words, facial expressions, spontaneous cries or mutterings or even rages -- all totally incomprehensible to children.
While Lollini's description of testimonial writings from antiquity to the modern era establishes a solid historical paradigm, his analysis of 20th-century testimonies foregrounds the paradoxes of a mode of symbolization that, while revealing its inevitable inadequacy, also expresses its own compelling necessity.
Looking at the symbolization of native' Americans in this manner demonstrates racial bias.
This economy is characterized by its means (different for each "author") of inscribing the biographical through symbolization of its chosen givens, which take on the value of documents.
In this dialectic, Cassirer tries to capture the idea that every act of symbolization contains an underlying tension.
To acknowledge the Real is fully to give credence to the gap between our powers of symbolization and an intuited "reality" external to them.
Kant's doctrine of the symbolization of the moral by the aesthetic requires a more concentrated effort of defence than it receives in Guyer's book.
Like Lacan, Aleixandre uses sexuality as a reflection or even creation of language--as another avenue to suggest that endlessly returning moment of symbolization.
These accounts emphasized the micro symbolization and socialization processes through which organizational participants come to adopt the normative standards that sustain macro structures.
But when I say that I dreamed about a green cat last night, though I am giving an accurate report, we can assume that a process of substitution, of symbolization, has been in play.