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Prager, J. (1996). Society. IX, 1992. Pp. 45-74. Rationalization as Sublimation: On the Cultural Analysis of Weber and Freud. H. L. Kayle. Theory, Culture, and. Psychoanal Q., 65:669-670.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:669-670

Society. IX, 1992. Pp. 45-74. Rationalization as Sublimation: On the Cultural Analysis of Weber and Freud. H. L. Kayle. Theory, Culture, and

Review by:
Jeffrey Prager

This paper explores the striking theoretical affinities and differences of two of the seminal thinkers of the twentieth century: Max Weber and Sigmund Freud. The author argues that both Weber and Freud shared the moral aim of enhancing autonomy and self-consciousness. After mapping the overarching affinities in their thought that liberate each from a Marxist cultural analysis to which they have both been subordinated, the author assesses Weber's relationship to Freudian theory in

Weber's cultural analyses. Weber's use of the concept of sublimation is of particular focus, for it provides an obvious link between the two theorists. For Weber, sublimation corresponds to the inner meanings derived from cultural rationalization, the internal, subjective dimension of modern historical developments. Where Freud, perhaps naïvely, presumes that sublimation yields a higher order of individual functioning that represents a “higher social and ethical valuation,” correspondent to ethical and intellectual advances (in contrast to repression), Weber posits the inherent clash between inner meanings and external social forms. Kayle argues that, as a consequence, Weber generates a more compelling cultural analysis (the return of the sublimated) accounting for the brutality and barbarism of the twentieth century. At the same time, unlike Freud, Weber provides no theory of the motivation for the rationalization process. Together, they promise a more complete subjectivist analysis of our contemporary world

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Prager, J.

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