Varieties of Psychohistory

Varieties of Psychohistory

Varieties of Psychohistory

Varieties of Psychohistory

Excerpt

The inclination of modern times tends rather to trace back the events of human history to more hidden, general, and impersonal factors -- the forcible influence of economic circumstances, changes in food supply, progress in the use of materials and tools, migrations caused by increase in population and change of climate. In these factors individuals play no other part than that of exponents or representatives of mass tendencies which must come to expression and which found that expression as it were by chance in such persons.

-- Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, 1939.

There is, however, still ample scope for penetration in depth, and I personally have no doubt that the "newest history" will be more intensive and less extensive. I refer more specifically to the urgently needed deepening of our historical understanding through exploitation of the concepts and findings of modern psychology.

-- William Langer, in his presidential address to the American Historical Association, December 1957

Writing in 1975, it is quite safe to say that psychohistory has finally arrived as a substantive new area of social science. It is instructive to see that almost two decades had to pass before Freud's expression of the need for psychohistorical perspectives on history were taken up by the distinguished historian William Langer. Furthermore, just as Freud's colleagues in psychology were generally indifferent to his historicalphilosophical views and speculations, so the great majority of Langer's scholarly constituents were also indifferent. It was not until the late . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.