Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character

Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character

Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character

Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character

Excerpt

An understanding of political life can be sought by examining collective processes distributively or intensively. In my Propaganda Technique in the World War (New York and London, 1927), I undertook to analyze the factors which modified collective attitudes by examining the symbols to which many millions of people had been exposed, without paying heed to the order in which these symbols entered into the experience of any particular person. In this preliminary treatise on Psychopathology and Politics, I am likewise concerned with the factors which impinge upon collective attitudes, but the method of procedure is radically different. It is no longer a question of inspecting the symbols to which innumerable individuals have been exposed; the present starting-point is the lengthy scrutiny of the histories of specific individuals. The procedures and findings of psychopathology are relied upon for the purpose in hand, since they are the most elaborate and stimulating contributions to the study of the person which have yet been made.

Candor enjoins me once more to express my indebtedness to my former teacher and present chief, Charles E. Merriam, of the University of Chicago, who some time ago sensed the importance of psychopathology for political science, and who has been willing to encourage my own forays in the field, without, of course, feeling bound to indorse my results either in principle or in detail. Through him it became possible to have facilities for special work with Professor Mayo, of Harvard University, whose perception of the bearing of psychopathology upon the un-

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