related topics
{theory, work, human}
{system, computer, user}
{company, market, business}
{disease, patient, cell}
{area, part, region}

Externalization means to put something outside of its original borders, especially to put a human function outside of the human body. The opposite of externalization is internalization.

In a concrete sense, by taking notes, we can externalize the function of memory which normally belongs in the brain.

In a more abstract sense, by making excuses, we can externalize the guilt associated with our actions.

In Freudian psychology, externalization is an unconscious defense mechanism, where an individual "projects" his own internal characteristics onto the outside world, particularly onto other people.[1] For example, a patient who is overly argumentative might instead perceive others as argumentative and himself as blameless.

Like other defense mechanisms, externalization is a protection against anxiety and is, therefore, part of a normal, healthily-functioning mind. However, if taken to excess it can lead to the development of a neurosis.



  • Bateson, Gregory (1978, 2002). Mind and Nature. Cresskill: Hampton Press. 
  • Bergson, Henri (1911, 1998). Creative Evolution. Arthur Mitchell, trans. NY: Dover. 
  • Kuchka, H.E (2001). "Method for Theory: A Prelude to Human Ecosystems". Journal of Ecological Anthropology 5. 
  • Gumperz, John J.; Levinson, Stephen C. (December 1991). "Rethinking Linguistic Relativity". Current Anthropology 32 (5): 613–623. doi:10.1086/204009. 

Full article ▸

related documents
Topic outline of critical theory
Christoph Gottfried Bardili
William Schutz
David Deutsch
Argument form
Jacob Anatoli
The Machinery of Freedom
Shoma Morita
Painting style
Process theology
Educational essentialism
Christopher Alexander
In the Beginning... was the Command Line
Harold Lasswell
World History
Clarke's three laws
Absurdist fiction
Theoretical ecology
Functional theories of grammar
Bahya ibn Paquda
Critical philosophy
Institutional Mode of Representation
Damned knowledge
Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Arab-Israeli conflict general remarks