Impact of psychology on critical theory: Erich Fromm, narcissism and solidarity

Karahasanoğlu, Toygun
This work aims to contribute to emancipatory purpose of International Critical Theory by utilizing Erich Fromm’s psychoanalytical theory. In International Relations literature, usage of theoretical tools of the discipline of psychology has not been invoked in parallel with the aims of Critical Theory. By the same token, theorists of Critical Theory have not benefited from psychological insights in their theoretical work. This thesis aims to show the potential contribution of psychology to International Relations Theory by utilizing Frommian psychoanalysis to Habermasian Critical Theory. In this context, Frommian conception of human nature and narcissism and socio-political outputs resulting from their interaction with social relations are taken as the focal point. As non-destructive opposite of malign narcissism, productive orientation is claimed to provide a rudimentary basis for humanist and constructive interaction among social groups. Such interaction can further and widen the agenda of emancipation, defined as diminishing the social constraints that produce human suffering and obstruct human autonomy. Efficacy of Frommian approach to the development of a humanist political interaction and solidarity is discussed by taking Frankfurt School inspired Critical Theory’s critiques into account.