On 'character': Fromm, religion and psychoanalytic thought

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In this article, I discuss the work of Erich Fromm, in particular his engagement with psychoanalytic and religious concepts. I hone on the concept of “character,” sometimes referred to as “social character” or “character structure, ” explicating its development in relation to the intellectual concerns of the Frankfurt school, specifically its reading of psychoanalytic theory. I argue that investigating Fromm’s conceptualization of “character,” or “character structure,” gains insight into the theoretical split between Fromm and the Frankfurt School, especially Marcuse, suggesting that it has to do with how Fromm conceptualizes religion in his ontological understanding of human being. I conclude with some thoughts regarding the applicability of Fromm for contemporary phenomena, especially in the realm of consumer culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-66
JournalDissonância: Revista de Teoria Crítica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2017


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