The Erich Fromm Study Center

The activities conducted by the Erich Fromm Study Center serve the aim of conveying and further developing the sociopsychological thinking of Erich Fromm. Taking a humanistic understanding of science as its basis, it is concerned with investigating and probing the psychological and social conditions for the success of humans and society, as well as with the application of corresponding findings to course contents and research projects.

Professor Dr. Thomas Kühn, who holds the Erich Fromm Endowed Professorship, and Dr. Rainer Funk, Head of the Erich Fromm Institute in Tübingen, manage and run the Erich Fromm Study Center together. The centre has been established at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) with the support of the Karl Schlecht Foundation (KSG).

Those working at the Erich Fromm Study Center include:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kühn

Thomas Kühn, born 1971, has been the Erich Fromm Endowed Professor since October 2016. At the same time, he is responsible for the specialist field of work and organisational psychology at the IPU Berlin. Prior to this as a Senior Researcher at the University of Bremen from 2009 to 2016, he was Head of the Social and Market Psychology Department at the Institute of Psychology and Transfer. In 2015, he was awarded the Venia legendi for psychology at the University of Bremen. His post-doctoral (habilitation) treatise was entitled: "Kritische Sozialpsychologie des modernen Alltags. Zum Potenzial einer am Lebenslauf orientierten Forschungsperspektive"/Critical Sociopsychology of the Modern Everyday. On the Potential for a Research Perspective Oriented to a Life Course. (Springer VS publisher 2015).

He is the author and editor of several books, including some on group discussions (Springer VS publisher 2011, together with Kay-Volker Koschel) and on the social situation in Brazil (Springer VS publisher 2006, together with Jessé Souza). He began his scientific career in the DFG German Research Association 186 Special Research Area "Status Passages and the Life Course" at the University of Bremen, for which he wrote his doctoral thesis in 2003 on the interlinking of professional biographies and founding families. Since then his research work has focused on exploring identity, biographic processes and their socio-political framing. At the University of Bremen, he headed the DFG German Research Association research project "Identity Constructions in a Life Course". He is a member of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP).

Thomas Kühn’s scientific works were awarded the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and an Endeavour Fellowship from the Australian government.

Contact: thomas.kuehn(at)ipu-berlin.de

Dr. Rainer Funk

Rainer Funk, born 1943, is a psychoanalyst with his own practice in Tübingen. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the ethics of Erich Fromm and he was Fromm’s last assistant in the 1970s. Fromm named him his executor and rights proprietor and bequeathed his library, scientific legacy and academic estate to him. In 2014, Funk transferred this into the Erich Fromm Non-profit Foundation (EFS) which is the sole Fromm research centre worldwide supported by the Erich Fromm Institute in Tübingen (EFIT – Hintere Grabenstr. 26). Funk completed his training to become a psychoanalyst and analytic couple therapist between 1977 and 1983 at the Stuttgart Academy.

In addition to his therapeutic practice, Funk has published the works of Fromm (including the Erich Fromm complete edition in twelve volumes, DVA and dtv publishers 1999) as well as works on Fromm’s biography, sociopsychology and psychoanalysis. His own sociopsychology book publications worth mentioning include: "Ich und Wir. Psychoanalyse des postmodernen Menschen"/I and We. Psychoanalysis of the Postmodern Human (dtv publisher 2005) and "Der entgrenzte Mensch"/The Unbounded Human (Gütersloher Verlagshaus publisher 2011).

Funk has lectured in Bremen, Reutlingen and Fulda, and has taught at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) in Berlin since 2013. Moreover, he is the administrator of Erich Fromm’s rights (www.erich-fromm.de) and has helped to shape and organise the International Erich Fromm Society (www.fromm-gesellschaft.de) since 1985. Together with Professor Thomas Kühn he has been Head of the Erich Fromm Study Center at the IPU since autumn 2016.

Contact: frommfunk(at)googlemail.com

Dr. Patrick Ehnis

Dr. phil. Patrick Ehnis is a research associate at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) in Berlin. He works there for the Erich Fromm Study Center in the field of work and organisational psychology. Prior to this, he conducted research in the DFG German Research Association project "Identity Constructions in a Life Course" at the University of Bremen. His scientific work focuses on work research, gender studies, social-science identity and subject research, qualitative methods, as well on as the social and family policies in Germany. He has conveyed these subject areas in his lecturing work at various third-level institutes and universities. From 2010 to 2011 at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences, he represented the Professorship of Social Sciences in the specialist field of social work. Patrick Ehnis was awarded his doctorate in political sciences on the subject of "fathers and periods of parental leave" at the Philipps University of Marburg. A list of his publications is available here.

In addition he invents games: In 2016 the board game RAUF!en from Gerald Schropp and him was released by the Verlag Gerhards. Spiel und Design. publisher.

Contact: patrick.ehnis(at)ipu-berlin.de

Katrin Voigt

Katrin Voigt is a research associate at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) Berlin in the field of work and organisational psychology, as well as at the Erich Fromm Study Center. In addition, she is completing her doctoral thesis on the subject of "transnational solidarity". Prior to this, she took psychology and transcultural studies at the University of Bremen and wrote her Master thesis on the "representations of women who flee in feminist magazines". She worked as a student assistant in Bremen in the DFG German Research Association project "Identity Constructions in a Life Course". The focus of her scientific work is on the field of qualitative methods, identity research, transculturality, solidarity, postcolonial studies and gender research.

Apart from her academic activities, she has a passionate interest in her football team.   In addition to the sporting aspects, she is involved in a range of organisational areas here.

Contact: katrin.voigt(at)ipu-berlin.de

The Erich Fromm Study Center consists of:

1. The Erich Fromm Endowment Professorship

Commencing in the 2016-17 winter semester, Professor Dr. Thomas Kühn followed the call from the IPU and established the Erich Fromm Endowment Professorship for Work and Organisational Psychology there. In addition, he is responsible for the development of the "Leadership and Consulting – Organisational Development with a Psychodynamic Approach" MA study course at the IPU. He is assisted in his work by the research associates Dr. Patrick Ehnis and Katrin Voigt.

2. The Erich Fromm Institute for Teaching, Training and Advanced Studies

A primary objective of the Erich Fromm Study Center is to convey Erich Fromm’s sociopsychoanalytical and humanist theories in its teaching, training and advanced studies at the IPU. This is achieved by the lecturing work undertaken by the holder of the Erich Fromm Endowment Professorship, as well as by further lecturers in as many of the courses as possible provided and taught at the IPU. In addition to the "Leadership and Consulting – Organisational Development with a Psychodynamic Approach" MA study course, the main areas include the "Social Psychology", "Empirical Social Research", "Personality Theory", "Qualifying of Leaders" and "Clinical and Non-clinical Applications of Psychoanalysis" Modules in further IPU study courses.

In order to promote and foster young scientific talents globally, a workshop is held in English each year for up-and-coming Fromm researchers (doctoral students, post-docs and others) at the Erich Fromm Institute in Tübingen.

Furthermore, as part of the centre’s activities, advice and support is provided for the development of planned and ongoing doctoral and post-doctoral (habilitation) degrees in the field of social psychology which explore and examine the work of Erich Fromm. Moreover, the Erich Fromm Study Center organises an annual Erich Fromm Lecture at the IPU, to which a renowned guest scientist is invited to speak.

3. The Erich Fromm Research Lab

In June 2018, the Erich Fromm Study Center is holding its second Erich Fromm Research Conference at the IPU. Further information will be available here soon.

The first research conference was held in June 2014, with 50 Fromm researchers and scientists in attendance. The most important results of the conference were published in the volume "Towards a Human Science. The Relevance of Erich Fromm for Today" (edited by R. Funk and N. McLaughlin, Gießen, Psychosozial Verlag, 2015).

Publications

Funk, Rainer (2016): Erich Fromm’s Contribution to Understanding Psychoanalysis. Talk on the occasion of the opening of the EFSC on 13.12.2016.
PDF Download

Kühn, Thomas (2017): Supervision und Organisationsberatung im Lichte Erich Fromms./Supervision and Organisation Consulting in the Light of Erich Fromm. Supervision: Mensch – Arbeit – Organisation journal, 35(1): 26-31.

Kühn, Thomas (2016): Critical, Daring, Creative. Erich Fromm’s Humanistic Approach Reflected in Social Challenges. Inaugural lecture at the IPU on 13.12.2016.
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Rudnytsky, Peter L. (2016): The Indispensability of Erich Fromm: The Rehabilitation of a ‘Forgotten’ Psychoanalyst. Talk as part of the Fromm Lectures at the IPU on 13.10.2016.
PDF Download

We would also refer you to the official Erich Fromm-Website. This contains among others:

  • Information and documents on the life and work of Erich Fromm
  • A glossary of important concepts and terms by Fromm
  • List of the writings, manuscripts and excerpts by and from Erich Fromm
  • List of writings about Erich Fromm
  • List of the Erich Fromm library items available in the Erich Fromm Institute Tübingen
  • List of the publications by the International Erich Fromm Society
  • Access to a document server that contains all of the writings by Erich Fromm, as well as the writings about Erich Fromm; part of the complete texts is accessible directly via the document server, while others are available by request

Erich Fromm

Born on 23 March 1900 into an Orthodox Jewish family living in Frankfurt, at the beginning of the 1930s Erich Fromm developed his own independent scientific approach, in which the human is understood in their determinacy through unconscious endeavours, as well as in their social character.

With his psychoanalytical-sociopsychological theories and methods, he initially recognised and explored the authoritarian character and worked until 1939 at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and New York. Later on, taking the same approach, he investigated marketing orientation, collective narcissism and necrophilia (being attracted to lifelessness).

Forced by the Nazi regime to emigrate in 1934, Fromm lived until 1950 in New York and then until 1973 in Mexico, before spending the remaining years of his life in Locarno in Switzerland until his death on 18 March 1980.

After completing his training to become a psychoanalyst in 1930, Erich Fromm worked especially as a psychotherapist, teaching and controlling analyst and university lecturer. His interests however lay in the psychoanalysis of social and political developments, in revealing the alienation of humans from their humane strengths, and in designs for a more democratic and socially fairer society.

Fromm gained worldwide recognition in 1941 with his book "Escape from Freedom", in which he describes the authoritarian orientation especially and submission to a leader as a means of fleeing, so as to escape the fear of social isolation that accompanies individualisation. In the mid-1970s, Fromm recognised in being attracted especially to the lifeless, the predictable and the dead certain – in "necrophilia" – a new escape mechanism that threatens the freedom of humans and which manifests itself today in the omnipresent striving for security.

Of the 20 further books that Fromm wrote, the following deserve mention: "Man for himself, an inquiry into the psychology of ethics" (1947), "The Sane Society" (1955), "The Art of Loving" (1956), "The Heart of Man, its genius for good and evil" (1964), "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness " (1973) and "To Have or to Be" (1976). It is estimated that 60 million copies of his book have been sold worldwide.

Comprehensive information: www.erich-fromm.de

Networks

The Erich Fromm Study Center is located at the International Psychoanalytic University.



The Erich Fromm Study Center is supported with funding from the Karl Schlecht Stiftung (KSG).



The Erich Fromm Study Center maintains close contacts with the Erich Fromm Institut in Tübingen.



Further information about Erich Fromm and about how he is currently being implemented into scientific and academic work is available at fromm-online.org.