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Ehrenzweig, A. (1951). Rediscovery of Justice: By R. K. Bienenfeld. (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1947.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 32:258.

(1951). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 32:258

Rediscovery of Justice: By R. K. Bienenfeld. (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1947.)

Review by:
A. Ehrenzweig

R. K. Bienenfeld adds an entirely new field to applied psycho-analysis: that of jurisprudence in all its ramifications into public and private law. His book is a persistent and successful attempt at presenting social and legal conflicts in adult life as unconscious extensions of the conflicting situations in childhood. In the part dealing with 'Justice in the Nursery' it is shown that the demands for justice presented to parents by brothers and sisters concerning their attitudes to each other are the model in society of the attitudes of fellow-men and citizens. The child in need will lean to the communistic demand for equality; if efficient, it will voice a socialist claim for reward according to achievement; if attacked, it will cling to the conservative protection of privilege; if attacking, it will arrogate the liberal principle of freedom of action; towards strangers it will adopt the nationalistic attitude of family pride. Likewise in relations between the subject and the government which is the domain of public law the infantile-parental relationship is regularly reproduced. In the initial stages of the nursery the child recognizes the divine right of the father to decide between right and wrong, and the same applies in primitive societies as to the divine right of the ruler. At the same time the child believes in his own omnipotence, which leads to an individualistic and anarchic tendency in society. His later acceptance of the reality principle leads to the modification of both tendencies into a wish for self-determination in order to master his own fate, and also to the conception of social co-operation by his desire to find his right place within the family.

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