Group Psychology and Political Theory / Edition 1

Group Psychology and Political Theory / Edition 1

by C. Fred Alford
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300059582

ISBN-13: 9780300059588

Pub. Date: 11/28/1994

Publisher: Yale University Press

In this innovative book, C. Fred Alford argues that the group - not the individual - is the most fundamental reality in society and that political theory has overlooked the insights of group psychology and leadership. Basing his argument on his experience with the Tavistock model of group learning (named for the institute in England where this method of group study…  See more details below

Overview

In this innovative book, C. Fred Alford argues that the group - not the individual - is the most fundamental reality in society and that political theory has overlooked the insights of group psychology and leadership. Basing his argument on his experience with the Tavistock model of group learning (named for the institute in England where this method of group study originated), Alford asserts that small, unstructured, leaderless groups are the closest thing to the state of nature that political theorists write about. According to Alford, none of the familiar traditions in political theory - including modern state-of-nature theory, liberalism, communitarianism, postmodernism, and feminist theory - makes sense of the group experience. Most contemporary political theorists have erred in starting from the position of the individual and moving to an understanding of the individual's struggle to belong to the group and civil society. Instead, says Alford, political theorists should realize that the group is the state of nature, and that civil society is the product of the individual's struggle to separate from the group and develop a sense of self. Alford's book, like many of the traditional state-of-nature theories, includes an extended anthropological fable, a story about the state of nature that is intended to illustrate its principles.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300059588
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1994
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.37(w) x 9.53(h) x 0.78(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
A Note on Sex, Gender, and Grammar
1In the Beginning Was the Group1
2The Experience of the Small Group26
3Theoretical Perspectives on the Small Group: Acting Out the Missing Leader47
4Groups Are the State of Nature77
5Tocqueville and the Schizoid Compromise: A Reinterpretation of Contemporary Political Theory in Light of Group Theory115
6Leadership151
Epilogue: The Wolini184
Works Cited209
Index215

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