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06 Late Freud: Eros & Civilisation


As Freud's thinking developed, he turned his attention to a psychoanalytic account of human culture and society. In so doing, he posited the 'death instinct'. This idea of a 'drive in organic matter towards a simpler, inorganic state' was highly speculative, but nevertheless influential in understanding human cultures not only as in struggle between 'reality' and 'pleasure' principles but also between life (eros) and death (thanatos) instincts.