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Frankel, A.K. (1980). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXII, 1977: Narcissism as a Function of Culture. Simon Sobo. Pp. 155-172.. Psychoanal Q., 49:340.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXII, 1977: Narcissism as a Function of Culture. Simon Sobo. Pp. 155-172.

(1980). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 49:340

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXII, 1977: Narcissism as a Function of Culture. Simon Sobo. Pp. 155-172.

Alice Kross Frankel

The increased prevalence of narcissistic difficulties in the United States is the result of the cultural shifts and upheavals of the 1960's and the early 1970's. The "remarkable" attack on authorities and values favored the dissolution of the superego with a resultant greater reliance on the ego ideal. Sobo uses superego in the restricted sense of the oedipal prohibitor, and ego ideal in the sense of the preoedipal wish-fulfilling agency. Later in the paper he links the former to identification with the oedipal father and the latter to identification with the preoedipal mother (he also states this refers to boys only). A reciprocal relationship between the two is posited: as the superego standards relax, the ego ideal wishes are unleashed. Conversely, the more the yearnings of the ego ideal are fulfilled, the more the superego restrictions are relaxed. As examples of this he cites romantic love and group behaviors. His main point is that the establishment of the superego as authority (a product of the oedipus complex via identification with the father-aggressor) requires, for most people, continuing reinforcement throughout life, but especially in adolescence. The disintegration of institutions and community in the 1960's made this reinforcement impossible. Society no longer provided the effective symbolic father.

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Article Citation

Frankel, A.K. (1980). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXII, 1977. Psychoanal. Q., 49:340

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