Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
The Anatomy of Prejudices

The Anatomy of Prejudices

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

ISBN 9780674031913

Publication date: 02/19/1998

In this deeply thoughtful book, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl turns a critical lens on prejudice. Surveying the study of prejudice since World War II, Young-Bruehl suggests an approach that distinguishes between different types of prejudices, the people who hold them, the social and political settings that promote them, and the human needs they fulfill. Startling, challenging, and courageous, this work offers an unprecedented analysis of prejudice.

Praise

  • Young-Bruehl argues that anti-Semitism, racism, sexism and homophobia differ in their internal logic (or illogic) and, more important, that they are deeply rooted in character structure and the unconscious. Accordingly, she finds the most convincing evidence about prejudices not in the questionnaires and projective tests favored by social scientists but in the writings of psychoanalysts, philosophers, novelists, critics and historians. Above all, she finds it in the writings of the victims of prejudice themselves...Her interpretations boast the familiar psychoanalytic virtues of richness, nuance and complexity: they probe to a psychological depth appropriate to the intensity and irrationality of the ideas in question...As an analysis of the sources of prejudice, The Anatomy of Prejudices is bold and profound. Along with Theodor Adorno's Authoritarian Personality, Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism, Gordon Allport's Nature of Prejudice and Gavin Langmuir's Toward a Definition of Antisemitism, it is one of the rare studies to explore this vexed topic with the conceptual ambition and passion it deserves.

    —Paul Robinson, New York Times Book Review

Author

  • Elisabeth Young-Bruehl was a psychotherapist at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. She was the author of two well-known biographies, one of Hannah Arendt and one of Anna Freud, as well as other works including Freud on Women, Creative Characters, Mind and the Body (a collection of essays), and a novel, Vigil.

Book Details

  • 640 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author

Recommendations