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Chapter 5 - Culture

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2023

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen
Affiliation:
University of Washington
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Summary

Freud very quickly complemented his psychobiology with a sociobiological theory of culture and society. As early as 1897, he rooted the psychological phenomenon of repression (shame, disgust) in what he called a “primary,” “organic” repression that corresponded in the history of the species to the adoption of the erect stature and the abandonment of the oral-anal-urethral zones as sources of sexual excitement. To this biological origin of the civilizing process, Freud added in Totem and Taboo the murder and cannibalistic incorporation of the “primal father,” an event supposed to account at the collective, phylogenetic level for the prohibition of incest, and at the individual, ontogenetic level for the “decline” of the Oedipus complex during the latency phase of the libido and the corresponding emergence of an internal “superego.” The whole development of culture is thus viewed by Freud as a constant recapitulation and commemoration of this guilt-producing event whose unconscious memory is imprinted in the “archaic heritage” of the human race and transmitted compulsively through the generations, in conformity with Lamarck’s theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics.

Type
Chapter
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Freud's Thinking
An Introduction
, pp. 124 - 163
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Culture
  • Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, University of Washington
  • Translated by Katy Masuga
  • Book: Freud's Thinking
  • Online publication: 21 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009371117.006
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Culture
  • Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, University of Washington
  • Translated by Katy Masuga
  • Book: Freud's Thinking
  • Online publication: 21 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009371117.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Culture
  • Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, University of Washington
  • Translated by Katy Masuga
  • Book: Freud's Thinking
  • Online publication: 21 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009371117.006
Available formats
×