Selected Written Works
Writings on the Psychodynamics of Political Correctness and Related Phenomena
These are Society against Itself: Political Correctness and Organizational Self-Destruction, Karnac (2010)my new book
Society Against Itself is an extraordinary and timely book. It is in the great tradition of psychodynamically-based culture criticism from Sigmund Freud to Weston La Barre and M.D. Faber. With passion, thoughtful analysis, and rich case studies, Professor Schwartz refutes the widely-held ideology of political correctness (PC). At the same time, he explores its appeal. He shows that, far from enriching democracy, PC sabotages it. It fosters lockstep thinking and the inability to learn from experience. At the unconscious level, PC marks the overthrow of Oedipality by preoedipality: the triumph of the mother renders the father impotent and irrelevant. This book deserves the widest possible audience, and Professor Schwartz has done the utmost to write it in an accessible language. One need not be a psychoanalyst or psychoanalytically-oriented organizational researcher to be enriched by it. The future of democratic governance and education depends on books like this to nourish it. Society Against Itself is certain to provoke controversy – a conversation that our society sorely needs to have.
- Howard F. Stein, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA.
Howard Schwartz's latest book will delight some, infuriate others and should scare the living daylights out of any thinking person. For if his analysis is correct, Western civilization is on a path of self-destruction. This will come not out of external factors such as terrorism or environmental degradation, but, as Freud said a propos of all death, for reasons internal to itself. Having lost faith in objectivity and external reality, we have lapsed into a collective hysteria of wishful thinking and fantasy. Society Against Itself speaks with the voice of a prophet. It demands to be heard. But can we still bring ourselves to listen to such voices?
- Yiannis Gabriel, Ph.D., Professor of Organizational Theory, University of Bath, author of Storytelling in Organizations
Building upon careful case studies of self-destructive behavior in several familiar organizations in the U.S. - including Harvard University, the Ford Motor Company, the United Church of Christ, Antioch College, the New York Times, and the Cincinnati Police Department - Howard Schwartz shows how the anti-oedipal moral tyranny of political correctness turns organizations against themselves by overvaluing the female and motherly concern for equal love and undervaluing the male and fatherly concern for achievement and rational order. The cumulative effect of Schwartz’s incisive analyses of these cases alarms and sickens as the reader watches the slow-motion collapse of these organizations, with erosion of the public confidence and good will on which they depend. Schwartz’s argument is powerful, important, and original. His prose is lucid, spirited, and engaging. I strongly recommend this brilliant and lavishly sensible book to all who are interested to know what is really happening to organizations in America today.
- Lloyd Sandelands, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Professor of Management and Organization, University of Michigan
Howard Schwartz takes us far beyond the commonplace explanations of our economic and organizational crises in this pioneering work, into a deep understanding of the psychological dynamics that underlie our difficulties. In doing so he brings us into contact with profoundly important aspects of our contemporary cultural situation and illuminates many essential contradictions that must be confronted if we are to remain vital in the 21st century. Schwartz has the courage to question some of our most cherished, taken-for-granted, assumptions. In doing so he offers us an opportunity to grapple with essential issues in a fresh and authentic way.
- James Krantz Ph.D., Former President, International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations; Principal, Worklab Consulting
These are published papers, versions of which appear in
Published Short Papers and Reviews
Papers on Organizational Decay