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September 1962

Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia: External Objects and the Creation of Meaning

Author Affiliations

Instructor (Anthropology), Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(3):170-181. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720030016003

Nonbiological approaches to the problem of schizophrenia are as numerous as the problem is complex. The many lines of thinking, and the lack of coordination between them, reflect this baffling complexity. To cite only a few of the extremes in these lines of approach, we have, on the one hand, Devereux's early, highly simplified sociological view, which focusses on the difficulty of orientation to an external world. This difficulty is thought to be due to something as objective and historical as the extreme complexity of modern living.9 On the other hand, there is Szasz's recent hypothesis of a deficiency in internal objects,19 a deficiency which results from inadequate early child hood socialization. Other points of view in the voluminous literature are well known, and there is no purpose in repeating them here.2 Generally, they all agree that the schizophrenic is less well

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