Advertisement

Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 123–136 | Cite as

Fromm and Habermas: Allies for Adult Education and Democracy

  • Ted FlemingEmail author
Article

Abstract

The legacy of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research has been a powerful force for critically understanding social reality. Erich Fromm was one of the early and best known members of the Institute. Fromm emphasised the centrality of culture and interpersonal relations in the contruction of the psyche. The unconscious was not only the location for buried repressed matter but also for the imaginative potential of the human person. He is a forgotten and neglected contributor to the story of the Institute having been written out of this history. This retrospective of his ideas explores his work in the light of the recent work of Jürgen Habermas who is also an active but less controversial engager with the psychoanalytic tradition. The implications for adult education will be addressed. The paper outlines Fromm’s radical reinterpretation of psychoanalysis emphasising the importance of social existence as distinct from the impact of instincts; key concepts of the market, commodity fetishism and automaton conformity; The implications for adult education in the tradition of radical (Freire) and transformative learning theory (Mezirow) and addressed and make connections between Habermas and Fromm that further the project of critical theory. Both attempted in different times to identify and realise the potential of (though neither used the term) of lifelong learning as part of the process of bringing about a more just and caring society and a shared attention to the importance of having free conversations about how the emancipated life might be created and sustained.

Keywords

Erich Fromm Habermas Psychoanalysis Adult education Democracy 

References

  1. Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D., & Nevitt Sanford, R. (1969). The authoritarian personality. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Brookfield, S. (2011). Radicalizing learning: Adult education for a just world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Coffield, F. (1999). Breaking the consensus: Lifelong learning as social control. British Educational Research Journal, 25(4), 479–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Collins, M. (1991). Adult education as vocation: A critical role for the adult educator. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Fleming, T. (2010). Condemned to learn: Habermas, university and the learning society. In M. Murphy & T. Fleming (Eds.), Habermas, critical theory and education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Fleming, T. (2011) Learning theory: An overview. In M. London (Ed.), Oxford handbook of lifelong learning (pp. 29–39). New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  8. Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Harmondsworth: Pelican.Google Scholar
  9. Freire, P. (1994). Pedagogy of hope: Reliving pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  10. Fromm, E. (1941). The fear of freedom. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  11. Fromm, Erich. (1955a). The human implications of instinctivistic ‘Radicalism’: A reply to Herbert Marcuse. Dissent, 2, 342–349.Google Scholar
  12. Fromm, E. (1955b). The Sane society. Greenwich, Conn: Fawcett Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Fromm, E. (1961). Marx’s concept of man, with a translation of Marx’s economic and philosophical manuscripts by T. B. Buttomore. New York: Ungar.Google Scholar
  14. Fromm, E. (1962). The art of loving. Unwin: London.Google Scholar
  15. Fromm, E. (1973). The crisis of psychoanalysis: Essays on Freud, Marx and social psychology. Harmondsworth: Pelican.Google Scholar
  16. Fromm, E. (1976). To have or to be. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  17. Fromm, E. (1984). The working class in Weimar Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Funk, R. (2000). Erich Fromm: His life and ideas. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  19. Habermas, J. (1971). Knowledge and human interests. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  20. Habermas, J. (1975). Legitimation crisis. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  21. Habermas, J. (1984). Theory of communicative action, vol 1, reason and the rationalization of society. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  22. Habermas, J. (1987). Theory of communicative action, vol 2, lifeworld and system: A critique of functionalist reason. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  23. Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  24. Habermas, J. (1996). Between facts and norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  25. Habermas, J. (2008). Between naturalism and religion. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  26. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Wildemeersch, D., & Leirman, D. (1988). The facilitation of the lifeworld transformation. Adult Education Quarterly, 39.1, 19–30.Google Scholar
  28. Madison, G. (2005). Habermas, psychoanalysis and emancipation, Existential Analysis, 16.2, 208–220.Google Scholar
  29. Mclaughlin, N. (1999). Origin myths in the social sciences: Fromm, the Frankfurt school and the emergence of critical theory. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 24(1), 109–139.Google Scholar
  30. Mezirow, J. (1994) Understanding Transformation Theory, Adult Education Quarterly, 44.4, 222–232.Google Scholar
  31. Mezirow, J. (1995). Transformation theory of adult learning. In M. Welton (Ed.), In defense of the lifeworld. New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  32. Mezirow, J. (1999). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  33. Mezirow, Jack., et al. (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  34. Murphy, M. (2000). Adult education, lifelong learning and the end of political economy. Studies in the Education of Adults, 32.2, 166–181.Google Scholar
  35. Murphy, M., & Fleming, T. E. D. (Eds.). (2010). Habermas, critical theory and education. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Welton, M. (1995). In defense of the lifeworld: A Habermasian approach to adult learning. In M. Welton (Ed.), In defense of the lifeworld: Critical perspectives on adult learning. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research in Adult Learning and EducationNational University of Ireland MaynoothMaynooth, Co KildareIreland

Personalised recommendations