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Martin Dornes is dead: Frankfurt developmental psychologist has died


In a standard work described the emotional world of infants. Most recently, he investigated the question of whether capitalism makes you depressed: The sociologist and psychologist Martin Dornes died at the age of 71.

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Martin Dornes (1950-2021)


Gaby Gerster / laif

His last book had an encouraging message, despite the title: In »Does Capitalism Power Depressive?

On Mental Health and Illness in Modern Societies «from 2016, Martin Dornes formulated a pointed criticism of the times that sparked numerous debates.

He answered no to the eponymous question: "We were just as sick in the past as we are today (or even sicker)."

As the S. Fischer Verlag, which published his books, found out from his family, Martin Dornes died on December 25th in Frankfurt am Main.

He was 71 years old.

After studying sociology in Frankfurt am Main, Martin Dornes, born in 1950, received his doctorate and then qualified as a professor in psychoanalytic psychology.

In addition to his clinical work, he conducted research in the fields of psychiatry, psychosomatics, sexual medicine and medical psychology.

Until 2014 he was on the executive committee of the long-established Frankfurt Institute for Social Research.

Complex description of the emotional world of infants

As a book author, he initially caused a sensation in the field of developmental psychology: his book "The Competent Infant" achieved 16 editions and is considered a standard work.

In it he described how psychoanalysis had long underestimated infants.

It is true that Freud had already endowed the toddler with instincts, desires, and fantasies.

But he only approved of pleasure or displeasure as the only feelings of the baby.

Dornes described the infant's emotional world in a much more complex manner.

more on the subject


Other books on the psyche of children had titles such as "Die early Childhood" (1997), "The emotional world of the child" (2000), "The soul of the child" (2006) or "The modernization of the soul.

Child-Family-Society "(2012).

Martin Dornes observed empirically that in the field of upbringing everything was by no means better in the past - on the contrary.

An "optimized ability to self-regulate" is the goal of a modern upbringing that makes children fit for the future: "When the corset of guidelines, traditions and constraints becomes less rigid, the muscles have to become stronger".

With Dornes, one could imagine the flexible, postheroic subjects of postmodern society as people who cannot hold out at any price, but can withstand a lot.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-01-05

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