Erich Fromm’s work is unfortunately neglected in academia today, in no small part because his expansive humanism is out of joint with many forms of radical thought popular in those quarters. In addition, university psychology and psychiatry departments have almost completely excluded Freudians or psychoanalysts of any kind, which leaves no room for Fromm there either. Among the larger educated public in the U.S. and Germany, however, Fromm continues to be read widely, as can be seen in sales of his work. Many assign his writings in college and even high school courses. I have used his Escape from Freedom (1941) for years as a main text in an introduction to sociology course. Students, whose response has been very favorable, encounter therein a clear and engaging introduction to social theory (Marx, Weber, and Freud), to the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Europe, to the anatomy of fascism and authoritarianism, and to a critique of the atomization of modern capitalist civilization and its culture industry.
June 23rd, 2007