In: KulturPoetik 2017, Heft 2


Bernadette Grubner


Kultureller Narzissmus. Zur Figur ursprünglicher Selbstbezogenheit in den Kulturtheorien Sigmund Freuds und Norbert Elias'




The paper examines two classics of cultural theory conveying the idea that human culture evolved from an early stage of psychological and cultural narcissism: Sigmund Freud’s Totem and Taboo and Norbert Elias’s The Civilizing Process. Both Freud and Elias describe early world views as emotionalized, self-centered and child-like and the process of civilization as maturation. However, narcissistic relations between self and other never seem to be overcome once and for all; rather, they prove to be both persistent and versatile. The paper analyzes in detail how the concept of narcissism is integrated into Freud’s and Elias’s theories of culture by paying special attention to its narrative function.