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Grunberger, B. (1964). The Anti-Semite and the Oedipal Conflict. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:380-385.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:380-385

The Anti-Semite and the Oedipal Conflict

Béla Grunberger

The study of anti-Semitism, touching as it does so many aspects of psychic life, appears to me to be at the cross-roads of individual and collective psychology; cross-roads with so many avenues of approach that it is necessary to make a choice. I shall attempt to clarify the problem in the light of certain fundamental psycho-analytical concepts without the least pretension to present an exhaustive study of it. I shall not attempt to examine certain well-known aspects of the problem which to me lack the specific validity which alone is important. I have in mind, for example, sociological, political, economic, ethnographic, and other arguments which explain certain limited and superficial aspects of anti-Semitic manifestations but in my view are inadequate to account for them fully.

The remarkable continuity and constancy with which anti-Semitism reappears in spite of radical differences in environmental factors show us in effect that these factors are of account only as attendant phenomena or rationalizations wherein the pretended causes may be revealed as the consequence of much older elements and of a deeper psychological nature.

In considering the object of our study, we should not be satisfied with defining an 'anti-Semite' as 'one who is against the Jews'. In fact, anti-Semitic behaviour may take many forms, and from a topical viewpoint conceal very divergent and even contradictory motivations. Anti-Semitism varies from pure and simple sadism to very complex attitudes involving every form of individual relationship, and with each successive manifestation tending to be more specific and more arbitrary.

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