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Henry Stein August 31st, 2004 03:06 PM

Cumulative Discussion of CCWAA, Volume 2, Chapters I-XVII & SOI
This is a cumulative thread containing the messages for "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 2, Journal Articles 1898-1909." The messages covering Chapters I-XVII and "A Study of Organ Inferiority"are listed below.

Discussion of Chapter I, "Health Manual for the Tailoring Trade," started Monday, September 13th.

Discussion of Chapter II, "The Penetration of Social Forces into Medicine," and Chapter III, "An Academic Chair for Social Medicine," started September 20th.

Discussion of Chapter IV, "Town and Country," and Chapter V, "State Aid or Self Help," started September 27th.

Discussion of Chapter VI, "The Physician as Educator," started October 4th.

Discussion of Chapter VII, "Hygiene and Sex," and Chapter VIII, "The Problem of Sex in Upbringing," started on October 11th.

Discussion of Chapter IX, "Three Psycho-Analyses of Inspired Numbers," and Chapter X, "Developmental Defects in Children," started October 18th.

Discussion of Chapter XI, "The Aggession Drive in Life and in the Neurosis," and Chapter XII, "Inheritance of Diseases," started October 25th.

Discussion of Chapter XIII, "The Child's Need for Affection," and Chapter XIV, "The Theory of Organ Inferiority and Its Philosophical and Psychological Meaning," started November 1st.

Discussion of Chapter XV, "A Prostitutes Two Dreams." Chapter XVI, "On the Neurotic Disposition," and Chapter XVII, "Myelodyspalsia" (Organ Inferiority), started November 8th.

Discussion of Part 2, "A Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensation," started November 15th.

Henry Stein August 31st, 2004 03:07 PM

Re: Discussions of Alfred Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapter I
Abstract, Preview, Ordering Information, and Discussion of Volume 2, Chapter I

Abstract (by James Wolf) of Volume 2, Chapter I: "Health Manual for the Tailoring Trade," [1898]. Adler describes the relationship between the economic conditions of workers in the tailoring trade and the resulting illnesses and medical issues common among those workers. This is not a psychologically focused paper, but is important in that it shows Adler’s interest in the plight of the common man, and his early insights into environmental, economic, and social forces which influence health issues.

For a preview of Chapter I, download You'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free at

Order Volume 2 now at, read Chapter I, and start posting your comments and questions under this message thread.

Henry Stein September 11th, 2004 09:18 AM

Re: Discussions of Alfred Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, chapter I
Nickle and Dimed in Austria

In "Health Manual for the Tailoring Trade," ("The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 2," Chapter I, pages 1-14) Adler offers a vivid portrait of oppressive working conditions in 1898 Vienna that is reminiscent of Barbara Ehrenreich's contemporary, blistering picture of poverty level wages in the U.S., "Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America." His complete diagnostic perspective on the impact of poverty and unhealthy working conditions is sobering--he details the respiratory, circulatory, structural, muscular, digestive, visual, and dental deterioration, combined with high accident rates and an inadequate medical insurance system. As a reporter, Ehrenreich gives us a powerful impression of "being there." As a physician, Adler gives us an "x-ray" of the impact of these working conditions on the human body. He set a high standard for socially responsible medicine in 1898. Hopefully, more physicians will begin urging legislators to address these similar issues today.

To order "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 2," go to

George Neeson September 11th, 2004 03:02 PM

Re: Discussions of Alfred Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapter I
In this first article we have received in this new translation, Adler in paragraph one shows the already emerging notion of social interest when he addresses "human ailments, not from the perspective of one individual but as a social product". He is from the beginning of his writing, looking at man in society, not apart from.

In paragraph seven he forsees the need for state intervention in the protection of worker health. This guy was well ahead of his time.

In para six once more he mentions an early form of social interest when he says, "he shares a common interest with his fellow workers".

He predicts the bull/bear market cycles that follow from a free market economy in para 10. He has a good understanding of economics. Not shabby for an ophthalmologist.

On page 5 near the bottom of the page, he shows his already growing understanding of the plight of women. He is already proclaiming the need to emancipate ladies!

He does some good science as he describes the health conditions in the trade with statisical information to support his complaints. (I have been trained in Industrial medicine and have a very real appreciation for his care in drawing conclusions.)

When all is said and done, it his appreciation of the social nature of humans rather than his analysis of the occupational diseases the plagued the trade, that stands out. One could have easily predicted the direction his life would take if one had any training in psychology because "the writing is already on the wall".

James Wolf September 13th, 2004 01:45 PM

Re: Discussions of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapter I
When I read tihis article I see Adler's focus on the individual in his social situation and the discussion of symptoms (here physical symptoms, disease) in that social context. Also implied are the different directions/goals of all those in that social situation - people doing what they see they need to do to make a living in a competitive world, and that some disregard the welfare of their fellow man for the sake of making $. But also here is an optimism that things can improve through education and intervention. Everything has purpose.

Manu Jaaskelainen September 13th, 2004 03:02 PM

Re: Discussions of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapter I
As previous writers, I was impressed by Adler's accurate understanding of the economic, financial and social conditions in Austria-Hungary a century ago. I myself worked for a number of years in the Institute for Occupational Medicine here in Helsinki, Finland. I worked in the Department of Psychology, and I was deeply impressed by Adler's careful assesment of the social and economic inlfluences on human health. There are possibly some readers of this paper who need to study more closely the social conditions in fin de si├Ęcle - Vienna. Boyer has published on the social and and political history of Austria-Hungary during this period, and he demonstrates the political consequences of the recent social conditions. Consult also the books by Schorske, Toulmin&Janik, and Brigitte Hamann. - Adler's paper describes social and economic conditions that still prevail in many developing countries. It is a well-known fact that the big international companies use the local work-force in some of the poorer countries in the manner described by Adler a century ago. These international companies make orders to some intermediaries who employ the local people in their homes. This is the "cottage industry" described by Adler. I don't want to tell you more about the working conditions there. There is no need to describe them. This work is done already by Adler. - Adler's text is terse, grim, short, accurate and fully packed with information. He knew already exactly what we learned a century later when we studied the WHO-definition of health: "A state of complete social, psychological and physical well-being." What Adler says about ailing the situation sounds very much like the scandinavian model that is so familiar to me: organize production so that the work is done in large firms. Then, employers and the workers can negotiate on equal terms, and the government has some control over the working-conditions. What I fear is that in the globalizing world the future may once again be very much that described by Adler. If you read carefully Adler's paper, you can see that he actually speaks about the problems of globalized industry. See page 3 beginning "The customer's desire to make a selection..."

Henry Stein September 15th, 2004 09:00 PM

Re: Discussions of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapters II & III
James, George, and Manu have provided an astute, stimulating beginning to our discussion of Adler's journal articles. Our next discussion of Chapters II & III, starts September 20th. To prepare, order your copy of Volume 2 of "The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler" at The following chapter abstracts were created by James Wolf.

Chapter II, "The Penetration of Social Forces into Medicine," written in 1902, traces the influence of social forces on medicine and healing that lead to public health, prevention, and the eventual confrontation of "social misery," as well as other social issues that impact the public health. Adler also comments on the government's role, it's relationship with physicians, and on the role of physicians in the area of public health.

Chapter III, "An Academic Chair for Social Medicine," also written in 1902, expresses the need for a state health care system, and asserts that the politically powerful do not truly have the health care interests of the common people as a priority. In a very strong political statement, Adler calls for a "central organization" for health care, an academic chair, and a seminar for social medicine to investigate health related and social needs.

When posting your comments or questions, please identify the chapter number and/or title at the beginning of your message.

Henry Stein September 19th, 2004 09:58 AM

Re: Discussions of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapters II & III
In Chapters II & III, Adler's eloquent appeal for effective medical insurance, over a century ago, seems remarkably fresh and timely today in the midst of a managed care crisis as well as millions of people without health insurance in the U.S. However, the universal health care programs in other countries are not without serious problems. The task of combining social interest with reasonable economics, and creating quality medical coverage is challenging.

James Wolf September 20th, 2004 01:40 PM

Re: Discussions of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapters I-III
Re: Vol 2, chaps 2&3:
I'd like to hear from anyone familiar with the history of the Austo-Hungarian Empire and it's social conditions at the time of these articles. Chapter 2 seems to be a comment on the progress being made in the thinking about the importance of improving social conditions as a part of good medicine - and of a growing social democratic/socialist movement in its struggle against the established order. Chap 3 seems to be Adler's expression of anger at the establishment's apathy.

Manu Jaaskelainen September 20th, 2004 02:57 PM

Re: Discussions of Adler's Journal Articles, Volume 2, Chapters I-III
Yes James, in my opinion your diagnosis is right. However, improving social conditions was not necessarily a socialist idea, but most socialists were thinking in these lines. Deplorably, the original text is not available to me, but I know the central content of Adler's argument in these chapters. There was much to do in improving the social conditions in all the industrializing countries during this era. You may compare Adler's arguments with some of texts by Kafka. He was living and working in Prague during this period - a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. He made his living in service of the National Insurance Company, and he traveled extensively in this country and reported about the social and working conditions in various industries. His reports are very impressive, because they are so accurate and truthful just like Adler's. I think that the picture I get from Kafka's reports makes a very similar impression as Adler's reports. Kafka makes a number of suggestions to improve the working conditions (=safety), even presenting some drawings in order to make his points more concrete. In his youth, Kafka was a member of an anarchistic organization that was forbidden by the authorities because its activities were anti-militaristic and socialistic. This organization had translated and published some writings by Kropotkin - Adler knew also these writings. "Arbeiter-Unfall-Versicherungsanstalt" made, however, during this time a very slow progress, but there were persons like Kafka who understood the social importance of making improvements. I think this example alone demonstrates how much Adler's arguments were in the spirit of the times, and how well Adler understood the challenge of the history. - Concerning your question about the apathy of the government, the central interest of the government was to keep "Ruhe und Ordnung" - peace and order (the words of the previous Emperor). I think you can read between my lines in the Kafka-commentary that the progress in industrial conditions was very slow. In addition, there was a kind of "therapeutic nihilism" among the medical profession. This attitude was known by this very term, and Adler comments on this somewhere. Yes, there was government apathy, but there was a professional apathy as well, a pessimism that conditions can hardly be improved.

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