Froebelism Theory See Play Theories Of

FROMM'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY. In the development of his "dialectic humanistic" personality theory, the Germanborn American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm (1900-1980) departed from the standard Freudian theory by stressing the effect of social forces on personality, and was greatly influenced by the German social philosopher Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) who, in Marxist psychological theory, argues that society is in a constant state of change where persons are products of their society and of the social forces imposed on them; in all stratified societies, according to this theory, there is inherent potential for social conflict where economic conditions affect power relationships. The fundamental notion that underlies most of Fromm's writings is that individuals feel lonely and isolated because they have become separated from other people and from nature. Embedded in this theme is a basic dilemma of humans that consists of a person's being both a part of nature and separate from it, where the individual is both an animal and a social human being. In his personality theory, Fromm suggests that as humans have gained more freedom throughout the centuries, they also have felt more alone, and freedom then becomes an aversive condition from which people try to escape. There are two solutions to such a dilemma: to submit to authority and conform to society or to join with others in a spirit of love and social productivity. Fromm chose "productive love" as an important theme in his theory. He proposed, also, five needs that arise from the condition of being human and through which humans attempt to resolve the contradictions of existence: relat-edness (also called frame of devotion), transcendence, rootedness, identity, and frame of orientation. Fromm discusses the concept of character from two points of view: individual and social. From an individualistic viewpoint, character is dynamic and structured in infancy, and it involves the functions of facilitation of personal action, selection of world-confirming judgments and ideas, adaptation to one's own culture, and orientations toward death and life (Fromm defines the notion of individuation as the gradual attainment by a growing child of the awareness of being an individual entity or person). From a societal viewpoint, character is seen as ways in which persons relate to the world and to each other, and includes the following five social character types (Fromm's "typology"): receptive, exploitative, hoarding, marketing, and productive. Of these five types, Fromm regarded only the productive type to be a healthy condition of character development. He emphasized the role that socioeconomic factors play in one's life, maintaining that through a kind of "dialectic" process - that is, the process through which an idea or event (thesis) generates its opposite (antithesis), leading to a reconciliation of opposites (synthesis) - one's socioeconomic class influences social character which, in turn, influences the adaptation of free individuals to the prevailing social milieu. Thus, in other terms, social character internalizes the external needs and orients individuals toward tasks required by the particular socioeconomic system. Fromm's formulations in his personality theory - where an individual's relationship to society is a key theme - may be summed up in the following assumptions: humans fundamentally have an inborn nature; society is created by humans in order to fulfill this essential nature; no society that has yet been devised meets the basic needs of human existence; and it is possible to create such a society. Fromm's name for such an ideal soci ety is "humanistic communitarian socialism." Fromm's personality theory consistently focuses on the thesis that character or personality influences, and is influenced by, social structure and social change. His major contribution to personality theory is the idea that through the productive type of character, people may realize their own potentialities and, in so doing, may subordinate themselves to the well-being and welfare of all humans. See also ADLER'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; FREUD'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; HORNEY'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; JUNG'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; MASLOW'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; PERSONALITY THEORIES; ROGERS' THEORY OF PERSONALITY. REFERENCES

Fromm, E. (1941). Escape from freedom. New

York: Avon Books. Fromm, E. (1947). Man for himself: An inquiry into the psychology of ethics. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. Fromm, E. (1956). The art of loving. New

York: Harper & Row. Fromm, E. (1962). Beyond the chains of illusion: My encounter with Marx and Freud. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Fromm, E. (1970). The crisis of psychoanalysis. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Fromm, E. (1980). Greatness and limitations in Freud's thought. New York: Harper & Row.

FRUSTRATION-AGGRESSION HYPOTHESIS. See AGGRESSION, THEORIES OF; FREUD'S INSTINCT THEORY.

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