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Muñoz, M.A. (2006). Whatever Happened to Culturalism? Presenter: Mario Rendon, M.D. Discussant: Giselle Galdi, Ph.D. Date: October 20, 2005. Am. J. Psychoanal., 66(2):195-199.
   

(2006). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 66(2):195-199

Scientific Meeting of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis

Whatever Happened to Culturalism? Presenter: Mario Rendon, M.D. Discussant: Giselle Galdi, Ph.D. Date: October 20, 2005

Michele A. Muñoz, Ph.D.

Edited by:
Nancy Goldman, LCSW

This evening's scientific meeting launched a year in which the Institute celebrates the 120th anniversary of Karen Horney's birth, and aptly, Dr. Mario Rendon's presentation addressed one of the areas in which Horney made her unique contributions: culturalism. Rendon, training and supervising analyst at the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, began by using American sociologist and anthropologist Leslie White's (1900-1975)1 definition of culture as a set of patterns, or emergent qualities of systems, that characterize human groups. Technology, ideology, and psychology are three patterns of culture that make humans uniquely different from animals. Technology, the infrastructure of society, consists of the modes and relations of economic production. Ideology, the superstructure of society, is mediated by language, art, values, and beliefs, which are the ways in which a society represents itself. Psychology explains the way individual and social units behave within the infrastructure and superstructure (White, 1949).

Rendon then gave a historical overview of how the concept of culture has changed over the last couple of centuries. The Romantic ideological movement, with its focus on man, ushered in the field of social sciences. This process was greatly facilitated, in Rendon's view, by Hegel's (1770-1831) concepts of systems, totality, and process, concepts that served as scientific methodology of the philosopher. The first generation of social scientists of the Enlightenment applied and adapted the schema of evolutionary stages of technology (hunting, herding, farming, and commerce) and ideology (savagery, barbarism, civilization), proposed by philosopher Montesquieu (1689-1755), to describe technological and/or ideological evolution along a continuum.

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