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Parin, P. (1972). A Contribution of Ethno-Psychoanalytic Investigation to the Theory of Aggression. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 53:251-257.

(1972). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 53:251-257

A Contribution of Ethno-Psychoanalytic Investigation to the Theory of Aggression

Paul Parin

The widespread discontent with the psycho-analytic theory of aggression can be traced back to rational and irrational reasons. The rational ones can be derived from the fact that the theory of aggression does not parallel the libido theory.

Hartmann, Kris & Loewenstein have written:

Briefly stated, the difference [between the development of libido and aggression] may be characterized by saying that libidinal gratification is partly zone specific, while aggressive gratification is not zone specific (1949p. 33).

The main irrational reason is, in my opinion, that the current theory presents no substantiated hope that we may one day control the horrible effects of destructive aggression in human society. This state of affairs suggests that we should seek new theories rather than try to extend and improve the present ones, which serve only to demonstrate our helplessness.

However, the metapsychological opinions on aggression outlined by Hartmann, Kris & Loewenstein (1949) have stood the test well when applied in the course of psychoanalytically orientated examination of members of two African cultures. Two hypotheses in particular proved to the basic: first, that the vicissitudes of aggressive drives are determined by the moulding, and most especially by the cultural moulding, of the ego. The second maintains that man's social behaviour is primarily the result of his aggressive energies. The first hypothesis refers to the development of aggression, most particularly the aim and object of aggressive strivings; the second to the function of aggression, both within and between the psychic structures and in relation to the outside world.

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