THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MEANING OF WORK. (VOLUMES I AND II)
MetadataShow full item record
The dissertation critically analyzes the psychoanalytic writings on the meaning of work for 'normal', non-disturbed people. In spite of its importance for development, clinical issues, psychological understanding, and social policy, work has received little attention from psychoanalytic thinkers. The goal is to separate the mystification from the helpful in these writings in order to contribute to an expanded psychoanalytic theory of the meaning of work.;The procedure is to analyze the theories from the radical humanist psychoanalytic perspective of Fromm, according to these criteria: universal applicability, concept of human nature, and freedom from bias of culture, class, race, sex, and historical period. Metapsychology is also rejected for its superfluous reifications, mechanisms (mind as machine of interacting parts and energy), atomisms (e.g., neurons), and anthropomorphized mental agents (e.g., id-ego-superego). Following G. Klein, we focus on the subjective meanings and the functions described by the theories.;Each author receives a chapter's consideration and is grouped by theoretical school: orthodox psychoanalysis (Freud, Lantos, Menninger, Oberndorf); transition to ego psychology (Hendrick); ego psychology (Erikson, Holmes, Neff, White, Kohut, Levinson); rejection of metapsychology (G. Klein, Schafer, Stolorow); radical humanist psychoanalysis (Fromm, Maccoby). Research in a Mexican Village and in American corporations by the latter two authors is also presented.;Most theories are found to apply more to one type of person than to all character types. The theories, focused on part-processes, are found to lack a general psychological orientation. Fromm's work is shown to provide a psychoanalytic general psychology based on a philosophical/anthropological understanding of the contradictions of human existence. Fromm's concept of social character is shown to be the most heuristic and universalizable concept for framing the psychoanalytic meaning of work. A synthesis of the most helpful contributions of the various theories is presented.;The parallel between the history of social development and the evolution of psychoanalytic theory is discussed. The privileges, and pathogenic pull, of psychoanalytic work are considered as they distort the psychoanalytic theory of work. Suggestions are presented on how the psychoanalytic theory of the meaning of work can be developed, and contribute to a "genuine social science" (Freud).