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Williams, A.H. (1957). Democracy and Dictatorship: By Zevedei Barbu. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul; New York: Grove Press, 1956. Pp. vii + 275. 28s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:128-129.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:128-129

Democracy and Dictatorship: By Zevedei Barbu. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul; New York: Grove Press, 1956. Pp. vii + 275. 28s.)

Review by:
A. Hyatt Williams

A good deal of light is thrown by this book upon the psychology of Democracy and Dictatorship. The developmental or historical approach gives a convincing explanation of the structure of contemporary cultures in terms of human personality and character. Neither the predominant character of the people produces the culture nor the culture the main character type of the people, but the end-result is an interaction between the two.

The development of democracy in Western Europe is compared with and related to that first flowering of democracy in Ancient Greece. A comparison and contrast is made between the way in which democracy has been achieved in Britain and in France. The characteristics of the prevailing personality-type in a Democracy are explained as being the products of a cultural dualism. This dualism consists of a religious factor leading to the concept of the Ideal or Transcendental and a secular factor leading to an understanding of Immanence and Empiricism.

The outcome of freedom to develop under conditions of relative security has been a more integrated and differentiated personality characterized by flexibility, objectivity, and tolerance. Socially there is diversity with generally good reality sense, these qualities being the outcome of an easy balance between unconscious and conscious forces. Pari passu with this develops an internal controlling mechanism which limits the extent of personal freedom (in other words a tolerant but stable superego). With this clear differentiation of the boundaries of the individual, there is achieved a capacity for Group participation, but, when occasion demands it, also an ability to be relatively independent.

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