A false convergence: Freud and the Hobbesian problem of order

Sociological Theory 9 (1):87-105 (1991)
Abstract
In the 1950s and 1960s Freudian theory was deemed to be a vital part of the sociological tradition, but since then it has fallen from favor, largely because of the simplifications and misinterpretations both by Freud's sociological critics and by his supporters. Chief among such misunderstandings is the tendency to view Freud's social theory as a variant of that of Hobbes, in which a selfish and asocial human nature is made social through the imposition of external constraints; these constraints, as Durkheim stated, eventually are "internalized" into the personalities of social beings. Against such a claim this paper argues that Freud's views differ profoundly from those of Hobbes and that the myth of the Hobbesian Freud has so distorted Freud's most fundamental concepts that their social theoretical significance has been largely obscured
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