Only $125 - Erich Fromm's contributions to sociological theory
 

  Erich Fromm's contributions to sociological theory


 

 
"Erich Fromm's contributions to sociological theory is a comprehensive work accessible to both students and scholars who wish to understand Dr. Fromm's distinction between “productive” and “non-productive” modes of existence, respectively “being” versus “having.” Dr. Jensen gives concrete descriptions of Fromm's social character orientations including the narcissistic and necrophilous social character orientations, which are so often neglected by many Fromm scholars. With the renewed interest in Fromm's social-psychoanalytic approach in Germany and the United States, Dr. Jensen's major work can only encourage the study of the connection between psychology and sociology."
 
Dr. Rainer Funk, Psychoanalyst
Literary Estate of Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm Archive
 

 
"Dr. Jensen's third book is a summary of Erich Fromm's intellectual orientation to the fields of psychology, sociology, economics, and theology. Though the excellent book is written for scholars, it is easily accessible to anyone who would like to understand the difference between 'to be' and 'to have' in modern civil society."
 
Prof. Rudolf J. Siebert, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion and Society
Western Michigan University
 


 
for only $125 and
Receive Free Shipping
within the continental
United States.

 

 

Back Cover: As a member of the first generation of the Frankfurt School, a Marxist, and, unlike Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) and Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969), a clinically trained and practicing psychoanalyst for most of his adult life, Dr. Erich Fromm's (1900-1980) work has a lot to offer the field of sociology. However, his sociological efforts have been mostly ignored here in the United States. I would like to rectify this problem by summarizing three of Dr. Fromm's key contributions to sociological theory, in particular: (1) his categories of humanistic and authoritarian religion, (2) his theory of social character, and (3) his "mechanisms of escape" or the psychological tools people use to 'escape their freedom' to choose. The first contribution pertains mainly to the scientific, non-theological study of religion, while the other two pertain to sociological theory, in general.

Book snippet from Chapter 2: "In summary, authoritarian religion creates an individual that is subservient, prone to low self esteem, has a willingness to submit to authority blindly, and feels uncomfortable and alarmed when they are not being used, like a nail, nut, or a bolt. In addition, what they ‘see’ in heaven, as in its hierarchical structure, they have a tendency to make on earth. The opposite of authoritarian religion is humanistic religion. This type of religion is centered around a human being’s ability to develop their power of reason in order to (1) understand themselves; (2) their relationship to other human beings; (3) to realize their potentialities; (4) accept their limitations; and (5) come to terms with their role in the universe (Fromm 1978:37). A religious experience coming out of a humanistic religion, Fromm argues, is “based on one’s relatedness to the world as it is grasped with thought and with love” (1978:37) — with love being defined as non-possessive and non-exploitative — while at the same time focusing on care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge, in an active way (Fromm 1989a:24-28, 30, and 97-120; all of which is anchored in the Golden Rule and Biblical passages like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Therefore, the individual’s “aim[,] in humanistic religion[,] is to achieve the greatest strength, not the greatest powerlessness; virtue as self-realization, not obedience,” which in turn makes “the prevailing mood in humanistic religions that of joy” and “not sorrow and guilt” that is found most commonly in authoritarian religion (Fromm 1978:37)."

Book snippet from Chapter 3: "What makes Fromm’s eight major social character types more than simple aggregates are — what I call — its attraction/adoption mechanism. This mechanism can either (1) attract those who’s dominate character matches the group’s dominate social character OR (2) cause individuals who lack the group’s dominate social character to adopt “the essential nucleus of the character structure of most members” of that group (Fromm 1994:276). Regardless of whether the individual is attracted to or adopts the group’s dominate social character, the relationship between the individual and the group are symbiotic, with a majority of the benefits going to the group."

Book snippet from Chapter 4: "With the writing of Escape from freedom (1941), Fromm concluded there are four major habitual manners or, what he called, psychological mechanisms that most people use to flee from or ‘escape their freedom to choose’ and, therefore, avoid the unbearable feelings associated with the decision making process. Putting it another way, Fromm cataloged the major mechanisms people habitually use to avoid the experience of having to make a decision. By engaging or surrendering to these mechanisms, people are ‘freed’ from the labor, accountability, and stress surrounding making and following through a decision. In their minds, by delegating the ‘freedom to choose’ to one of these mechanisms, they ‘free’ themselves from the situation. However, in reality, they have only acquired another master. Within this framework of understanding, let us explore these escape mechanisms and see why a working knowledge of them would be a useful tool for sociologists."

CHAPTERS
 1. Erich Fromm and sociology........................1
 2. Humanistic and authoritarian religions..........11
 3. What is social character?.......................59
        Authoritarian-SC............................77
        Receptive-SC................................85
        Exploitative-SC.............................89
        Hoarding-SC.................................97
        Marketing-SC...............................106
        Narcissistic-SC............................120
        Necrophilous-SC............................149
        Productive-SC..............................169
 4. Mechanisms of escape...........................173
 5. Conclusion.....................................193
 References........................................215

Copyright 2017 Walter A. Jensen
U.S. Copyright Record #: Forthcoming
Not available in any electronic or digital format on the World Wide Web.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9704919-4-7
ISBN-13: 9780970491947
Publisher: Printmill - Kalamazoo, MI
First published: May 1, 2017
BISAC Subject Code: SOC026040
Length: 9.0"
Width: 7.0"
Depth: 1.0"
Weight: 1.213 pounds
WMU Library Call #: HM585 .J465 2017
Publication Flyers for: Social Scientists, Grad Students, and the General Public.
 
* Providing you live within the continental United States.
 

Last Updated 08/20/2017

Return to Publications