Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see translations of this article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When there are translations of the current article, you will see a flag/pennant icon next to the title, like this: 2015-11-06_11h14_24 For example:

2015-11-06_11h09_55

Click on it and you will see a bibliographic list of papers that are published translations of the current article. Note that when no published translations are available, you can also translate an article on the fly using Google translate.

 

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Colp, R., Jr (1988). Views of psychohistory. Free Associations, 1O(14):111-123.

(1988). Free Associations, 1O(14):111-123

Views of psychohistory

Ralph Colp, Jr

Psychohistory: Readings in the Method of Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and History, edited by Geoffrey Cocks and Travis L. Crosby, Yale University Press, 1987, xv + 318 pages, hb $35.00, pb $14.95

This anthology, edited by two American historians and primarily intended for history students, consists of eighteen essays on or related to psychohistory, written over the past thirty years by sociologists, political scientists, historians, philosophers, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and psychologists. The editors have aimed at a book that — in contrast to several earlier compilations ‘which were too narrowly bound to psychoanalytic theory’ — offers a ‘thorough and balanced introduction to psychohistory’ (pp. ix, xiv). And, although this anthology suffers from bibliographic redundancies and irregularities,1 and the omission of important works, if it is read along with some of these works it affords summaries of four prevalent groups of views of psychohistory: the criticisms made against it; its various orientations; its studies of individuals; and its studies of groups.

The criticisms begin with the anthology's first essay: the psychologist Hans Eysenck's ‘What's wrong with psychoanalysis?’ (1953), which charges that ‘psychoanalysis is unscientific’ (p. 16). Farther on the political scientist Alexander George — in an essay on Woodrow Wilson — observes that ‘three major deficiencies’ of psychobiography are that it exaggerates the purely psychological determinants of behaviour, over-simplifies the process of personality formation, and is ‘highly speculative and arbitrary’ (pp. 133-4). To these may be added what is perhaps the best-known criticism: that psychohistory is reductionist — because it reduces complex events to neurotic mechanisms.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.