Quiz 6: Horney: Psychoanalytic Social Theory


Horney believed that Freud's psychoanalysis was too rigid and that strict adherence to it would lead to stagnation in both theory and practice. Horney's strongest difference with Freud was on the issue of feminine psychology.To Horney, psychic differences between women and men are not due to anatomy or to instincts but to cultural and social expectations. Horney recognized the possibility of an Oedipus complex, but she insisted that it is not universal and not due to biology.To her, the Oedipus complex resulted from environmental conditions and is found only in those people who have a neurotic need for love. Horney objected to the notion of penis envy, but she recognized that many women have a masculine protest, or a pathological belief that men are superior to women. Horney believed that people are not ruled by the pleasure principle but by the needs for safety and satisfaction.

Horney originally identified 10 categories of neurotic needs that underlie the attempts of neurotics to combat basic anxiety.One person may use several neurotic needs in an attempt to deal with other people. The 10 neurotic needs are (1) the need for affection and approval, (2) the need for a powerful partner, (3) the need to restrict one's life within narrow borders, (4) the need for power, (5) the need to exploit others, (6) the need for social recognition or prestige, (7) the need for personal admiration, (8) the need for ambition and personal achievement, (9) the need for self-sufficiency and independence, and (10) the need for perfection and unassailability. Later, Horney grouped these 10 neurotic needs into three basic attitudes, or neurotic trends.The three neurotic trends are (1) moving toward people, which includes neurotic needs 1, 2, and 3; (2) moving against people, which includes neurotic needs 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8; and (3) moving away from people, which includes neurotic needs 9 and 10. Each of the three neurotic trends has a normal analog.Moving toward people translates as a friendly, loving attitude in normal people; moving against people has a normal analog of survivability in a competitive society; and the normal analog for moving away from people is an autonomous and serene attitude.

Horney asserted that the psychic differences between men and women were not the result of anatomy or biological differences but instead due to cultural and social forces.An example includes male domination over women due to neurotic competitiveness.Thus, basic anxiety underlies a man's need to subjugate women and a women's wish to humiliate men. Specific Freudian concepts that Horney challenged, and ultimately rejected, include the Oedipus complex and penis envy.She concluded that anatomy was not destiny and that a child's insecurities should not be attributed to sexual or anatomical causes.Instead, a child may have a neurotic need for love and affection, which may be expressed through clingy behavior or excessive jealousy.Ultimately, the child's main goal is security and the privileges typically afforded males in most cultures. In 1994, Barnard Paris published a paper of a lecture Horney gave in 1935.Essentially a summary of her views on feminine psychology, she argued that culture and society are responsible for psychological differences between the genders and that a general psychology of both men and women was more valuable than a detailed analysis of the aspects that separate men and women.She capture this well in the following: "Paradoxical as it may sound, we shall find out about these differences only if we forget about them."