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Buechler, S. (2017). Erich Fromm’s concept of reactive violence. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(3):193-197.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(3):193-197

Erich Fromm’s concept of reactive violence

Sandra Buechler

This paper explores the current relevance of Fromm’s concept of reactive violence for understanding particular patients and for generating hypotheses about the world we live in. In his discussion of reactive violence, Fromm gives us a nuanced approach to forms of aggression that can be employed in the service of life. According to Fromm, the aim of reactive violence is preservation, not destruction. It is rooted in fear and, he believes, is the most frequent form of violence. This paper traces the evolution of Fromm’s concept of reactive violence, and considers how it might apply to today’s social and political challenges.

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