Anna Freud shaping child education and promoting "Democratic Citizenship" in Britain

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Many of the ideas that psychoanalysts advocated in Britain developed, in fact, in Central Europe and had origins going back to the time before the Second World War and before Jewish refugee psychoanalysts fled the Continent due to antisemitism. This chapter deals with the analytic work of Anna Freud (1895-1982), the youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud. It will follow the intellectual development of her ideas on anxiety and aggression as she treated British children during the Blitz and child Holocaust survivors who were transported to Britain after the war. There were continuities between the ideas that she developed in Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s and later on in Britain. But there was also an evolution in her thought, and it is important to note the ways in which the Second World War did make a difference in her work as Anna Freud's engagement with the questions of her time contributed to the further development of her ideas. "Though her views about the child, anxiety, and aggression were already in place before she moved to London, the war did have a substantial effect on her work. It was in Britain that her ideas took on greater resonance due to the Blitz (the aerial bombardment of civilians by the Nazis) and the evacuation process from cities to the countryside. In Vienna, her work was seen as part of progressive education programs with a social vision. In Britain, her work became tied to concern for the democratic self and the stability of the democratic regime.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFreud and the émigré
Subtitle of host publicationAustrian émigrés, Exiles and the Legacy of Psychoanalysis in Britain, 1930s-1970s
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030517878
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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