Psychology of Leaders and Leadership, Images of Evildoers...

Psychology of Leaders and Leadership

Images of villains and devotees in history

As a result of studying this chapter, the student must:


what is psychohistory;

• the main work of the American researcher E. Erickson;

be able to

distinguish between popularism in politics;


skills of analyzing the historical destinies of policy diagnostics.

Close ties break up,

Conscience and honor abolish

And they try to get dirt in the prince

And in the lightest princes get through.

Boris Slutsky


Psychohistory is a new psychological discipline that was born at the junction of history and psychology. Its creator is the American psychologist Erickson. Psychohistorians believe that a person's life is conditioned by his historical context, but the inner world of a person plays a huge role. The psychology of the era, which is engendered in many ways by the psychology of the individual, is the most important factor in social history. Psychohistory was formed under the influence of the ideas of ego psychology (G. Hartmann), which emphasized the role of adaptive functions of the psyche, and comparative culturaland anthropology (M. Mead), which showed the cultural specifics and diversity of biologically determined forms of human behavior. The formation of psychohistory was also greatly influenced by clinical practice in the United States. Psycho historians have set the task to study the socio-cultural parameters of the historical era, especially the characteristic features of its spiritual atmosphere.

Continuing the tradition of psychobiographies of outstanding figures of world culture and politics created by Freud, and the biographies of Jaspers, psychohistorics made a remarkable turn in this area. They abandoned the functions of classical historical analysis. The task of psychohistory was to show that individual individuals provide the spiritual climate of the age. Intrapersonal conflicts of creative people - M. Luther, T. Jefferson, M. Gandhi, B. Shaw, M. Gorky - Erickson studied as an expression of socio-psychological problems of their time and culture. The main methodological attitude of psychohistory was a peculiar position, which postulated the principle of psychosocial correlation of intimate personal and social and historical collisions. Thus, the most important "historical moment" was fixed, which determined the fate of history.

Psychohistory developed quickly enough. In Germany, many works on Nazism came out.

Psychohistory proceeds from the position that there are unconscious imperatives of human actions. This presupposes the presence of earlier psychic levels, which are no longer realized by the subject, but at the same time are capable of influencing his behavior. At the same time, we often witness conflicts between conscious attitudes and unconscious aspirations at the individual and mass levels. Socio-political history was often not adequately explained, but the application of methods of psychoanalysis, cultural anthropology and social psychology changed the situation.

The psychohistorical method is often called genetic, as it emphasizes the significance of the previous experience. This approach assumes that the realities of the present continuously interact dynamically at the unconscious level with a personal and collective past.

For a psychohistoric, it is important not only to understand some timeless universal fantasies, but also to identify their specific expressions in a given place and time. They show how social trauma - war, famine, economic crises, epidemics - differ in their impact from each other, while at the same time characterizing the functioning of the group and the style of leadership. American experts have repeatedly applied the methods of cultural-anthropology, and in particular the concept of the "model personality", to the study of the German national character. Psychohistory was also useful for understanding the mass fantasies and movements based, in particular, on slavish hatred.

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