1st Edition

Psychoanalytic Insights into Social, Political, and Organizational Dynamics Understanding the Age of Trump

By Seth Allcorn, Howard Stein Copyright 2022
    248 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This fascinating interdisciplinary work explores U.S. politics since 2015 and offers psychodynamic insights into the unconscious undercurrents of contemporary culture and politics in the United States.

    Allcorn and Stein expertly lead readers up the steep learning curve of understanding the Trump era by exploring seven key elements of recent political dynamics. Using the complementary psychodynamic models of object relations, Group Relations and Karen Horney’s tripartite theory, this book makes sense of the Age of Trump and its chaotic world of alternate facts, conspiracy theories, reality TV politics, hoax pandemics, and the sweeping chaos of life in the United States. This sense-making relies on two triangulations. The first represents the complex systemic political scene. The second uses three psychoanalytic theories to understand social, political, and organizational dynamics. This book is a key resource for helping readers know and understand ourselves, our fellow citizens, colleagues, family, friends and what Trump and his followers call "them" such as liberals and foreign immigrants, as well as both the larger polarized social and political context in the United States today. The book also provides concrete examples of how these discoveries can be operationalized both in organizations and at the level of national government and leadership.

    This book is an essential reading for students in organizational behavior including leadership and how governments operate, as well as behavioral health professionals consulting or offering therapy to organizations.

    List of Figures





    1. Introduction
    2. Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory in Making Sense of the Age of Trump
    3. PART I: Trump the Man, the President

    4. Overview of Trump’s Business and Political History
    5. Narcissism
    6. Autocracy
    7. PART II: Charismatic Leaders and Their Sycophants

    8. Charismatic Leaders
    9. Sycophants and Their Charismatic Leader
    10. The Reality of Chaotic Leadership
    11. PART III: The Power of Ideologies

    12. Introduction to Ideology
    13. Contemporary Right-Wing Ideology and Its Relationship to Shame
    14. Deregulation as a Right-Wing Ideology
    15. PART IV: The Followers of Trump

    16. The Sentience of Followership
    17. A Culture of Grievance: Creating Polarization from Chosen Traumas
    18. White Supremacy and the Pursuit of Power
    19. The Learning Curve


    Seth Allcorn is the former Vice President for Business and Finance at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. Dr. Allcorn has more than 20 years of experience working with physicians, hospitals and academic medical centers and organizational consultant specializing in the management of change, strategic planning, and organizational restructuring. He is a founding member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organization.

    Howard F. Stein is an organizational, applied, psychoanalytic, and medical anthropologist, psychohistorian, organizational consultant, and poet. He is Professor Emeritus of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he taught for nearly 35 years. He facilitated the American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center’s meetings from 2012 to 2017. He is a long-time member of the International Psychohistorical Association.

    'We find ourselves at a perilous moment in our history and civilization. Government is a critical institution, and if we are to survive the many crises we presently face, we need a deeper and more humane critique of how we got here. If you agree that fascism, authoritarianism, polarization, and narcissism, are enemies of democracy and progressive politics, and are inherently anti-democratic and illiberal, you want to read and reflect on understanding the age of Trump. To do so, one must understand the phenomenon of Trump, the relationship between charisma and sycophantism, the delusional sway of right-wing ideologies, Trump’s followers, and their racial resentments. At a time like this, we need clarity and insight. Allcorn and Stein have successfully given us just that.'

    Dr. Michael A. Diamond, Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs, University of Missouri, Columbia. The Institute of Psychoanalytic Training and Research & Gould Center for Psychoanalytic Organizational Study and Consultation, New York, New York, U.S.