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Violence and narcissism: a Frommianperspective on destructiveness underauthoritarianism

Cheliotis, Leonidas (2011) Violence and narcissism: a Frommianperspective on destructiveness underauthoritarianism. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 36 (4). pp. 337-360. ISSN 1710-1123

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This article offers a sympathetic appraisal of Erich Fromm’s concept of narcissism as it relates to the emergence, sustenance, and resolution of authoritarian violence. The discussion is first placed within the methodological debate over the analytic operations that are required for an adequate understanding of authoritarian violence, explaining why a psychoanalytic perspective is necessary. The focus then shifts to Fromm’s take on the Freudian concept of narcissism, before proceeding to explore in some depth his account of the symbolic mechanisms and contextual climate that must combine in practice in order for narcissistic energies to be channeled into authoritarianism and violence. Attention in this regard is paid both to the populace and governing elites. The article concludes with a short exposition of Fromm’s notion of benign narcissism, from its specific content to the conditions of its possibility.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Canadian Journal of Sociology
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2015 15:15
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:22

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