Psychodynamic Theory

Psychoanalytic theorists such as Melanie Klein, Sigmund Freud, and Vamik Volkan have provided powerful lenses for understanding hate, bigotry, scapegoating, and xenophobia. Klein and Freud wrote in a century traumatized by two world wars, and a European continent inundated with death, economic deprivation, and massive dislocation. These conditions of uncertainty and danger led to heightened nationalism where anti-Semitism flourished along with blind obedience toward demagogic leaders. Volkan, of Turkish Cypriot origins, worked extensively on understanding large-scale violent events such as genocide and wars.

Melanie Klein described the challenges for an infant who lives in the shadow of danger and uncertainty because she is completely dependent upon her primary caregiver. Klein described that the infant mind splits the caregiver and herself into being all good or ...

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