- Tapa blanda: 352 páginas
- Editor: HarperPerennial; Edición: 1st HarperPerennial Ed (1 de octubre de 1992)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0060974206
- ISBN-13: 978-0060974206
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº753.463 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
Society Without the Father: A Contribution to Social Psychology (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 oct 1992
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Argues that since the rise of industrial society the authority figure based on the image of the father has broken down, and describes its impact on society
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Mittelsbach confuses the loss of the old paternal role -- the "distant father" of the pre-19thC period -- with that of the nearby, "guiding father" of the 19thC. Both roles were lost at once, but both did not exist together at all times; whole civilizations had the former but not the latter, the Romans most famously.
Also, while the development of a "society without the father" is probably ruin for the West, it is certainly possible for civilizations to function -- to remain stable, at the very least -- in the form that he describes as a "society without the father". Mirror, sword and jewel: The geometry of Japanese life indicates that Japan has always been of this character; The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters points to North Korea currently having the same sort of "society without the father" as Japan did in the intense late part of their militaristic period, with Hirohito as mother-figure as an image or repetition of his ancestress Amaterasu. (In fact, I discovered this book by way of _The Cleanest Race_.)
Thus, although some of the general mechanics in this book are accurate (and I'm skimming it for such descriptions of mechanics), the analysis is rendered inaccurate by its author's parochialism and dogmatic Freudianism -- in almost precisely the same way as it is in another German Freudian's work, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. (Note: Do not buy _The Uses of Enchantment_, it's plagiarized from an earlier work; but do see my review there, if you're interested).
Freudianism in general has its problems, also; the Freudians, following their founder, have no mental mechanism corresponding to the very real dopamine system, the craving for accomplishment and excitement (since Freud sated his own dopamine system with cocaine), and ignore evidence that does not necessarily point to the truth of any particular religion, but does point to the falsehood of pure materialism -- evidence like the sun "dancing" at Fatima (witnessed by any number of non-Catholics, including at least one atheist magazine editor who was converted by the experience), or like the matters described in Reading the Enemy's Mind: Inside Star Gate: America's Psychic Espionage Program and An Exorcist Tells His Story. So, I don't recommend bothering with this book: its author writes some fine aphorisms, but between not noticing East Asia, not noticing the non-material parts of even the Western world, and not noticing that the Victorian father did not originate before the dawn of history, his picture of the world is so badly incomplete that no amount of genius could arrive at good conclusions.
Update: Apparently "society without the father" does not mean what I described above, it means a society in which the child knows little or nothing about the father's work, and so comes to conclude that the father is evil. (The East Asian father, by contrast, is present and accounted for, and the child sees that he's not a threat.) I read the book and completely failed to discover that; Bettelheim's approach to philosophy, "difficult prose for difficult ideas," leaves something to be desired.
Second update, years later: 0 of 11 people find this review helpful, including its author. Mitscherlich's prose is comprehensible, with sufficient time and effort.