Erik Erikson and the American Psyche
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Erik Erikson and the American Psyche : Ego, Ethics, and Evolution

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Erik Erikson and the American Psyche is an intellectual biography which explores Erikson's contributions to the study of infancy, childhood and ethical development in light of ego psychology, object-relations theory, Lacanian theory and other major trends in psychoanalysis. It analyses Erikson's famous portraits of Luther, Gandhi and Jesus, and his own ambiguous religious identity, in the context of his anguished childhood and adolescence, and his repeated emphasis on the need for strong intergenerational bonds to insure mental health throughout the life cycle. Given Erikson's persistent efforts to harmonize psychoanalysis with history and the human sciences, it interprets his invention of psychohistory as a 'pseudo-schism' which enabled Erikson to throw off the stifling constraints of Freudian orthodoxy, disclosing the personal and intellectual tensions that prevailed between him and many leaders of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Finally, it demonstrates the enduring relevance of Erikson's unique perspective on human development to our increasingly screen-saturated, drug addled postmodern - or 'posthuman' - culture, and the ways in which his posthumous neglect foreshadows the possible death of psychoanalysis in North America.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 244 pages
  • 154 x 231 x 18mm | 358g
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0765704951
  • 9780765704955

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Table of contents

0 Acknowledgements 0 Preface Chapter 1 In Hitler's Shadow Chapter 2 The New World Chapter 3 A Crisis of Integrity Chapter 4 Situating Erikson Chapter 5 Psychohistory - Luther and Gandhi Chapter 6 Evolution and Conscience in Darwin, Freud and Erikson Chapter 7 The Historicity of Dreams - Freud, Fliess & Jung Chapter 8 Erikson's Erasure
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Review quote

Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics, and Evolution is a very important intellectual history that does much to restore Erikson's ideas to the place that they deserve both within the psychoanalytic movement and within general psychology. Burston is an excellent guide to this very complex literature with many crosscurrents. He knows the many players and knows how to handle historical and biographical material with a deft touch that is both analytic and respectful of the various players' humanity. As a guide to Erikson, he is both deeply knowledgeable and appropriately critical. * PsycCRITIQUES * In this empathic and stimulating book Daniel Burston tells the story of Erik Erikson whose rise, dominance, and disappearance as the supreme authority on adolescence coincides with the last half-century of American life. Aware of Erikson's faults, Dr. Burston illuminates Erikson's continued relevance to understanding the inner lives of children. -- Volney P. Gay Ph.D, professor and chair of Religious Studies; Director, Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, Vanderbilt University This is a most readable, authoritative and fascinating book about one of the great figures of modern psychology. By no means a hagiography, in innovative ways it weaves a creative new framework within which to locate and appreciate Erikson's contribution. Strongly recommended to both specialist and general readers. -- Renos K. Papadopoulos, Ph.D., professor, University of Essex (UK) and consultant clinical psychologist, The Tavistock Clinic (London) Daniel Burston has examined Erikson's life story in a remarkably fine book. At first glance, it could be dismissed as psychobiography lite, because although it provides a useful biographical narrative, there is very little about his relations with his wife and children, not much about how he got along with friends and students, except that they all liked him, nothing about his sex life, and one cant even tell if he drank, smoked, or liked to go to the movies. However, for such material Burston generouslyrefers readers to Lawrence Friedman's detailed biography of Erikson, as well as works by Paul Roazen, and others. By contrast, as indicated by his book title, Burston has gone after bigger, and in many ways more interesting game. His book offers something like a psychohistorically informed, anthropological study of Erikson's central role in adding a cornucopia of neo-Freudian perspectives to American culture I believe his book deserves high praise for providing a valuable psychohistorical account of the recent history of both psychoanalysis and psychohistory. -- Dr. Leon H. Rappoport * Clio's Psyche * This year, Erikson is the subject of a poised and sympathetic study by Daniel Burston, an Israeli-born, Toronto-raised psychologist at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics, and Evolution (Rowman & Littlefield) not only describes why he once mattered but why, in many places, he ceased to matter. It's a monument to a now neglected figure and a demonstration of how quickly intellectual fashion changes and fame flees. * The National Post * Daniel Burston makes Erikson's sense of ethics and theories come alive, from his difficult early life to his latter religious and politically conflicted years. Erik Erikson and the American Psyche provides an unparalleled richness to the reader's understanding of Eriksonian development, culture and Erikson's empathy for the human condition. -- Michael Brody, M.D., chair of Television and Media Committee, American Academy of Child Psychiatry; professor of American Studies, University of Mary Dr. Daniel Burston's Erik Erikson and the American Psyche is a remarkable and unusual find. This book illuminates Erikson's person, placing this psychological giant in context, consistently showing the quality of insight and psychological depth characteristic of Erikson himself. Burston's rich historical research and psychological precision demonstrates how psychobiography should be done, providing us with a unique and substantive portrait of a revered icon of modern psychology. -- Dr. John T. Chirban Daniel Burston has examined Erikson's life story in a remarkably fine book. At first glance, it could be dismissed as psychobiography lite, because although it provides a useful biographical narrative, there is very little about his relations with his wife and children, not much about how he got along with friends and students, except that they all liked him, nothing about his sex life, and one cant even tell if he drank, smoked, or liked to go to the movies. However, for such material Burston generously refers readers to Lawrence Friedman's detailed biography of Erikson, as well as works by Paul Roazen, and others.
By contrast, as indicated by his book title, Burston has gone after bigger, and in many ways more interesting game. His book offers something like a psychohistorically informed, anthropological study of Erikson's central role in adding a cornucopia of neo-Freudian perspectives to American culture
I believe his book deserves high praise for providing a valuable psychohistorical account of the recent history of both psychoanalysis and psychohistory. -- Dr. Leon H. Rappoport * Clio's Psyche * This year, Erikson is the subject of a poised and sympathetic study by Daniel Burston, an Israeli-born, Toronto-raised psychologist at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics, and Evolution (Rowman & Littlefield) not only describes why he once mattered but why, in many places, he ceased to matter.

It's a monument to a now neglected figure and a demonstration of how quickly intellectual fashion changes and fame flees. * The National Post * Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals. * CHOICE *
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About Daniel Burston

Daniel Burston was born in Israel, raised and educated in Toronto, and now lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where he chairs the department of psychology at Duquesne University. Dr. Burston is the author of numerous books and articles on the history and theory of psychoanalysis, and the many points of convergence between psychology, philosophy, religion and culture.
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