Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics and Evolution

Author(s) : Daniel Burston

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Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics and Evolution

Book Details

  • Publisher : Jason Aronson
  • Published : 2007
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 234
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Category 2 :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 26007
  • ISBN 13 : 9780765704955
  • ISBN 10 : 0765704951

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Erik Erikson and the American Psyche is an intellectual biography which explores Erikson's contributions to the study of infancy, childhood and ethical development in light of ego psychology, object-relations theory, Lacanian theory and other major trends in psychoanalysis. It analyses Erikson's famous portraits of Luther, Gandhi and Jesus, and his own ambiguous religious identity, in the context of his anguished childhood and adolescence, and his repeated emphasis on the need for strong intergenerational bonds to ensure mental health throughout the life cycle.

Given Erikson's persistent efforts to harmonize psychoanalysis with history and the human sciences, it interprets his invention of psychohistory as a "pseudo-schism" which enabled Erikson to throw off the stifling constraints of Freudian orthodoxy, disclosing the personal and intellectual tensions that prevailed between him and many leaders of the International Psychoanalytical Association. Finally, it demonstrates the enduring relevance of Erikson's unique perspective on human development to our increasingly screen-saturated, drug-addled postmodern - or "posthuman" - culture, and the ways in which his posthumous neglect foreshadows the possible death of psychoanalysis in North America.

About the Author(s)

Daniel Burston is an Associate Professor and former chair of the Psychology Department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He was raised and educated in Toronto, Canada, and is married with two children. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles on the history of psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, including The Legacy of Erich Fromm, The Wing of Madness: The Life and Work of R.D.Laing, and Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics and Evolution.

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