You Ought To!: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Superego and Conscience (Psychoanalytic Ideas Series)

This compact but comprehensive survey of the concept of the superego is very much to be welcomed.

Starting with an account of how Freud elaborated, over many years, the idea of an agency within a person’s mind which monitors and passes judgement on the person, Barnett goes on to describe the evolution of the superego from infancy to adulthood. He considers different views of this development and its chronology, and also how various analytic orientations have conceptualized the operation of the mature superego. With an examination of the Holocaust, he shows how the superego's functioning can go catastrophically wrong. He concludes by reflecting on what relation the concept of the superego may have to postmodern ideas about the decentered self.