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Freud and Social Theory

Since its origins, psychoanalysis has been inextricably linked with the history of twentieth-century social theory. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, responded to unprecedented events in his own political culture, particularly World War I, the resurgence in Austria of anti-Semitism, and the rise of Nazism, fascism, and other mass movements, and applied his developing science to a theory of society. Psychoanalysis is predicated on a fully elaborated set of postulates concerning human nature, a metapsychology that describes the inner world of a human being as governed by both rational and nonrational impulses. In various writings beginning in the 1920s, Freud sought to explain the ways in which the psychological makeup of the individual, rather than helping to realize it, limited the achievement ...

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