Sample Questions

1. What is Narcissism?

Look at the fundamental problem of the ambiguous nature of the word, confusion between it as a noun and as an adjective (narcissistic). Is it a normal part of development, a perversion or found in both?

Look at the umbrella formation given by Freud - narcissism as a concept regarding the libido, and its distribution between the ego and its objects. How does he propose that the narcissistic libido develops from here homosexually and then heterosexually? Furthermore how does he propose that the secondary narcissism arises through its identification with objects? Is this distinction between primary and secondary narcissism really necessary?

Also look at the concept of narcissism as defined by others e.g. Ellis, Jung, Adler, Existentialists, Humanists, the two schools of psychodynamic thought (the self-psychology and object psychology schools). Do their concepts really differ, or is it only their explanations of the phenomena that differ?

Conclusion - consider the idea that there are various concepts of what narcissism is, however future work, of more heuristic value, should concentrate on maintaining a single concept of it, and only varying the explanations for it, in the controversies surrounding human sexuality.

2. What approaches does Freud use to study narcissism and why?

Fundamentally, Freud approaches the study of narcissism through investigation of: Organic Disease; Hypochondria; Studies of Human Erotic Life; Children; and Primitive Peoples. Explain how he uses each and the information that they provide. Evaluate the accuracy of each. Do they involve any erroneous assumptions?

What other approaches could he use? Why doesn't he use these? Are they too difficult; are there confounding factors? Ambiguities?

In conclusion, is it fair that critics could argue that the main problems with Freud's theory is the fact that he doesn't include all these varied sources of evidence? Or is he justified in being selective with his approaches? How could these other approaches be used? Has anyone done so? How successfully?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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