Historical Social Research

Thomas Leithäuser: Psychoanalysis, Socialization and Society – The Psychoanalytical Thought and Interpretation of Alfred Lorenzer [Abstract]

Alfred Lorenzer belongs to those few psychoanalysts, who did understand psychoanalysis not only in clinical therapy, clinical thinking and research but also as a social science. In the perspective of Lorenzer the individual  fundamentally could not be taken out of his social contexts. The therapeutic setting of psychoanalysis insofar is an artificial undertaking, a psychological experiment of a special kind. Lorenzer did understand society not only as an environment outside of the individual, how it is studied through most of the psychological paradigms. In the sense of Lorenzer society penetrates and mediates the deep individual structures. He describes this process as a socialization of the individual. In my following essay I discuss the perspective of Lorenzer’s research in the fields of mother-child-relationship, of the child's learning of language, of work-relationships, and of religious and ideological attitudes. My research interest is directed on the complex mediation of familial and social interaction forms. The center of the analyses is the concept of the unconsciousness, which Lorenzer has developed in a close relation to Sigmund Freud.