Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Fantasy, Overview

  • Raya A. Jones
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_351


A fantasy is ordinarily regarded as detached from reality, e.g., whimsical daydreams, unrealistic plans, or artistic fiction. Inquiring about the human fantasy life overlaps topics such as creativity, imagination, dreams, play, as well as dissociative disorders. There is no unified field of research dedicated to the vicissitudes of fantasy. Various issues are identified, theorized, and empirically explored within intellectual communities that historically had little dialogue with each other. Some lines of inquiry differ simply due to divergent aims. Whereas developmental psychologists study children’s pretend play toward advancing knowledge of typical development, psychologists of individual differences may identify characteristics of a fantasy-prone personality as correlates of psychopathology. Research in both contexts centers on what the fantasizer consciously recognizes as unreal. While the issues of both developmental functions and mental health implications enter...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adams, M. V. (2004). The fantasy principle: Psychoanalysis of the imagination. Hove/New York: Bruner-Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bakhtin, M. M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minneapolis Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bleuler, E. (1951). Autistic thinking. In D. Rapaport (Ed.), Organization and pathology of thought. New York: Columbia University Press. (Original work published in 1913).Google Scholar
  4. James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  5. Jones, R. A. (2007). Jung, psychology, postmodernity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Jones, R. A., & Hermans, H. (2011). The dialogical and the imaginal. In R. A. Jones & M. Morioka (Eds.), Jungian and dialogical self perspectives. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  7. Jung, C. G. (1952). Symbols of transformation (Collected works, Vol. 5). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Lacan, J. (1966–1967). The logic of fantasy. Unpublished seminar.Google Scholar
  9. Piaget, J. (1962). Play, dreams and imitation in childhood. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  10. Rapaport, D. (Ed.). (1951). Organization and pathology of thought. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Steiner, R. (Ed.). (2003). Unconscious phantasy. London: Karnac.Google Scholar
  12. Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (Original work published in 1934).Google Scholar
  13. Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and reality. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK