Psychoanalysis, Socialization and Society—The Psychoanalytical Thought and Interpretation of Alfred Lorenzer


  • Thomas Leithäuser



society, socialization, individual, individual structure, mother-child dyad, language game, interaction form, unconsciousness, mediation


Alfred LORENZER belongs to those few psychoanalysts, who did understand psychoanalysis not only in clinical therapy, clinical thinking and research but also as a social science. In the perspective of LORENZER the individual fundamentally could not be taken out of his social contexts. The therapeutic setting of psychoanalysis insofar is an artificial undertaking, a psychological experiment of a special kind. LORENZER did understand society not only as an environment outside of the individual, how it is studied through most of the psychological paradigms. In the sense of LORENZER society penetrates and mediates the deep individual structures. He describes this process as a socialization of the individual. In my following essay I discuss the perspective of LORENZER's research in the fields of mother-child-relationship, of the child's learning of language, of work-relationships, and of religious and ideological attitudes. My research interest is directed on the complex mediation of familial and social interaction forms. The center of the analyses is the concept of the unconsciousness, which LORENZER has developed in a close relation to Sigmund FREUD.



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Author Biography

Thomas Leithäuser

Thomas LEITHÄUSER, Emeritus; Prof. for developmental psychology and social psychology, Bremen University, 1972-2004; Director of the Academy of Labor and Politics, Bremen University, 1996-2009; Visiting Professor Brasil (Universities of Recife, Brasilia, Juiz de Fora), Denmark (Roskilde University Center), and the Netherlands (University of Amsterdam). His articles and books had been published in German, Portuguese, English, French, and Danish.

Research perspectives and interests: theory development (consciousness of everyday life, ideology, critical theory, psychoanalysis, political psychology); qualitative methodology and methods (hermeneutics and dialectic methods, reflexive and in-depth hermeneutics, theme-centered group discussion, theme-centered interview, hermeneutical experiment, psychoanalytically oriented [in-depth hermeneutic] text interpretation); empirical research (consciousness of everyday life, culture, social conflicts, stress and conflict solution, violation in public spaces, social needs of security, work and social world, technics); teaching experiences in the field of adult education and method development of Methods.




How to Cite

Leithäuser, T. (2012). Psychoanalysis, Socialization and Society—The Psychoanalytical Thought and Interpretation of Alfred Lorenzer. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(3).