Ego, Ethics and Evolution


Daniel Burston makes Erik Erikson's sense of ethics and theories come alive, from his difficult early life to his latter religious and politically conflicted year. Erik Erikson and the American Psyche provides an unparalleled richness to the reader's understanding of Eriksonian development, culture, and Erikson's empathy for the human condition. -Michael Brody, M.D., Chair of Television and Media Committee; American Academy of Child Psychiatry Professor of American Studies, University of Maryland


In this empathic and stimulating book, Daniel Burston tells the story of Erik Erikson, whose rise, dominance, and disappearance as the supreme authority on adolescence coincides with the last half-century of American life. Aware of Erikson's faults, Dr. Burston illuminates Erikson's continued relevance to understanding the inner lives of children

-Volney P. Gay, Ph.D., Professor and Chair; Religious Studies Director, Center for the Study of Religion and Culture


This is a most readable, authoritative and fascinating book about one of the great figures of modern psychology. By no means a hagiography, in innovative ways it weaves a creative new framework within which to locate and appreciate Erikson's contribution. Strongly recommended to both specialist and general readers.

-Renos K. Papadopoulos, Ph.D., Professor, University of Essex (UK) and consultant clinical psychologist, The Tavistock Clinic (London)


Audio Interview


Deborah Harper , President of Psychjourney, interviews Dr. Daniel Burston , author of Erik Erikson and the American Psyece: Ego, Ethics, and Evolution


If you are unable to down the audio file you can visit the following website for more information.

Erik Erikson and the American Psyche is an intellectual biography that explores Erikson's contributions to the study of infancy, childhood, and the ethical development in light of ego psychology, object-relations theory, Lacanian theory, and other major trends in psychoanalysis. It analyzes Erikson's famous portraits of Martin Luther, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus, Erikson's own ambiguous religious identity in the context of his anguished childhood and adolescence, and his repeated emphasis on the need for strong intergenerational bonds to ensure mental health throughout the life cycle. Given Erikson's persistent efforts to harmonize psychoanalysis with history and the human sciences, Daniel Burston interprets Erikson's invention of psychohistory as a "pseudo- schism" that enabled Erikson to throw off the stifling constraints of Freudian orthodoxy, disclosing the personal and intellectual tensions that prevailed between Erikson and many leaders of the International Psychoanalytic Association. This book demonstrates the enduring relevance of Erikson's unique perspective on human development to our increasingly screen-saturated, drug-addled postmodern--or "posthuman"--culture, and the ways in which his posthumous neglect foreshadows the possible death of psychoanalysis in North America.


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