What does anyone think about Wihelm Reich or Erich Fromm's ideas about social character? Or any other ones I'm not familiar with?
This is the idea that your personality type, no matter how unique it is, will be channelled in such a way as to resemble a general, universal although culturally and context specific character which is determined mainly by the needs of the economy but secondly, also, by the unacknowledged ideologies of the age.
Fromm felt that success in conforming to the social character often meant success in business, privilege, social mobility and standing but came at the expense of neurosis, even psychosis, since the sacrifices were so great.
However Fromm had his own characterology based upon he sorts of drives he felt were innate to human beings, irrespective of personality typology (I would contest he actually accept a lot of Jungian theory, including personality typology and archetypes) and common to all, mainly the drive towards productivity of some sort. He felt only the turly mentally ill or disturbed could be genuinely lazy.
Reich was different again and I dont understand his theory so well, his books are a bit ranty and scatterbrained to read, at least I think so but he did think that there existed a great compulsion for individuals to conform to socially determined standards.