Portrait of the WSG member Herbert Fitzek

Prof. Dr. Herbert Fitzek, the WSG member whom we present in second place in our "Portraits" series, has studied the history of psychological morphology like no other. The much acclaimed books The morphology case (1994) and Content and form of expressions as ways to access mental reality. A comparison of content analysis and morphology as methodological concepts of qualitative social research (2008) were created. The third book worth mentioning here is a book published together with Wilhelm Salber in 1996: Gestalt psychology. History and practice.

Herbert Fitzek was born in Cologne in 1957 and studied psychology, philosophy and psychopathology there. He has lived and worked in Berlin since 2005 and likes to travel (for living and working) to Vienna, Zurich, Rome, Tel Aviv... As a native of Cologne, he particularly enjoys coming back to the city on the Rhine and enjoying culture, art, Kölsch and carnival. He is the father of two daughters and enjoys contact with people, because it gives him the opportunity for friendly encounters and witty remarks. His preoccupation with history and classical music offers a counterpoint to this - which is why neither of these things leaves him.

Mr Fitzek, what do you wish for the future of the WSG?
A first wish has already been fulfilled: At last there is a homepage that distributes news and invites to network. Vhe many hundreds of Salber students would like to hear and read from each other. An exchange with related scientists who, like cultural psychologists, Gestalt theorists and psychoanalysts, are curious about psychological experiences beyond the mainstream would also be gratifying. Of course, I am thinking especially of the young morphologists in Berlin and Cologne who would like to actively engage themselves for the future of morphology.

Which area or phenomenon of human life should be morphologically investigated?
As far as the abundance of the phenomena investigated so far is concerned, probably no wish remains open. As a university lecturer, scientific demands are important to me. For they oblige to relate to the state of research, to develop a research question, to clarify theoretical concepts and to disclose empirical material. As beautiful as sparkling ideas sometimes are, the future of morphology as a science also requires a consideration of scientific conventions - not as a compromise, but as a challenge!

Through which points of contact did you get to know the psychological morphology?
I came to morphology in the seventies as a model student - in a double sense, of which the literal one did not reach Salber at all. He especially liked weird patterns, which were not available to me at first, although from the beginning I had the feeling that without them nothing could come of me. I sought my way through my preoccupation with the history of thought and philosophy and found it exciting that Salber began lecturing on precisely this in the 1980s. They finally brought me closer to the core of morphology without touching it.

Which psychological book do you use from time to time?
In this context I may mention the "Soul Revolution", which offers a tiny excerpt of the touching lectures. Incidentally, Salber only found his way from the history of psychology to the history of the soul shortly before the book was published, when he discovered fairy tales as the key to overall figurations of the experience and behaviour of certain epochs. This gave morphology a new twist as cultural psychology: our everyday repertoire is a result of historically learned (transformational) patterns, the sequence of which Salber imagined as comic (history).

Which country would you like to visit one day?
What I like best is to visit museums of modern art all over the world - for the works and the architecture. You don't have to travel far for that (at the University of Cologne we once visited and examined Bonn, Herford and Hombroich). Traveling along this path first took me to the Guggenheims in New York and Bilbao, last year I was with Oswald Niemeyer in Rio, this year with Getty in Los Angeles. A few weeks ago MOCAA opened in Cape Town. Clear answer: This time for Africa!

Gestalt and transformation is the central primal phenomenon of psychological morphology: into whom or what would you like to transform yourself for a day?
A nice closing question. As a friend of time travel, historical dramas, nobility, generals and resistance against autocrats, I would choose Colonel Count Stauffenberg on July 20, 1944 - and place the briefcase a little further under the table so that some idiot cannot push it aside and thus stop the course of world history. I probably wouldn't have that much courage myself, but I don't have to, if I understand the question correctly and find myself at the BSP's screaming table the next day...

Mr Fitzek, thank you for your answers.