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Schur, M. (1960). Phylogenesis and Ontogenesis of Affect- and Structure-Formation and the Phenomenon of Repetition Compulsion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:275-287.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:275-287

Phylogenesis and Ontogenesis of Affect- and Structure-Formation and the Phenomenon of Repetition Compulsion

Max Schur

In previous papers I dealt with the interrelation between structure formation, ego regression, and the ontogenetic vicissitudes of anxiety (52), (53) and I applied also phylogenetic considerations to the problems of anxiety (54). This necessitated my using ethological concepts and led me to a discussion of the analogies and divergencies between ethological and psycho-analytic formulations. I came to the conclusion that this approach might further our overall understanding of affect- and structure-formation.

The point of departure for my present paper was a critical reconsideration of the concept of repetition-compulsion, which in turn required a further discussion of certain phylogenetic and ontogenetic aspects of affect- and structure-formation. This explains my complicated title and the dichotomy which prevails in this paper. I am aware that such an attempt can be no more than a sketchy outline for future research.

The Problem of Repetition Compulsion

Let me outline how I approached previously the problem of repetition compulsion. I discussed anxiety in terms of a continuum of releasing excitations and of responses to them, and linked biological and psychological concepts of anxiety by the application of the genetic point of view. This amounted to 'the recognition of [the] phylogenetic origin [of anxiety] in a biological response, of the existence of this response in animals, and of its innate character in the newborn' (52p. 67). I traced the ontogenetic development from primary anxiety to the thought-like, structuralized, fully desomatized awareness of anticipated danger ('signal anxiety') (17), (6), (48) and I emphasized that the ability of the ego to anticipate and to evaluate danger under the prevalence of secondary processes and to utilize in its response neutralized energy is essential for ego autonomy (26), (24).

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