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I Introduction 1

II Le Bon's Description of the Group Mind 5

III Other Accounts of Collective Mental Life 23

IV Suggestion and Libido 33

V Two Artificial Groups: the Church and the Army 41

VI Further Problems and Lines of Work 52

VII Identification 60

VIII Being in Love and Hypnosis 71

IX The Herd Instinct 81

X The Group and the Primal Horde 90

XI A Differentiating Grade in the Ego 101

XII Postscript 110




The contrast between Individual Psychology and Social or Group[1]
Psychology, which at a first glance may seem to be full of significance,
loses a great deal of its sharpness when it is examined more closely. It
is true that Individual Psychology is concerned with the individual man
and explores the paths by which he seeks to find satisfaction for his
instincts; but only rarely and under certain exceptional conditions is
Individual Psychology in a position to disregard the relations of this
individual to others. In the individual's mental life someone else is
invariably involved, as a model, as an object, as a helper, as an
opponent, and so from the very first Individual Psychology is at the
same time Social Psychology as well--in this extended but entirely
justifiable sense of the words.

The relations of an individual to his parents and to his brothers and
sisters, to the object of his love, and to his physician--in fact all
the relations which have hitherto been the chief subject of
psycho-analytic research--may claim to be considered as social
phenomena; and in this respect they may be contrasted with certain other
processes, described by us as 'narcissistic', in which the satisfaction
of the instincts is partially or totally withdrawn from the influence of
other people. The contrast between social and narcissistic--Bleuler
would perhaps call them 'autistic'--mental acts therefore falls wholly
within the domain of Individual Psychology, and is not well calculated
to differentiate it from a Social or Group Psychology.

The individual in the relations which have already been mentioned--to
his parents and to his brothers and sisters, to the person he is in love
with, to his friend, and to his physician--comes under the influence of
only a single person, or of a very small number of persons, each one of
whom has become enormously important to him. Now in speaking of Social
or Group Psychology it has become usual to leave these relations on one
side and to isolate as the subject of inquiry the influencing of an
individual by a large number of people simultaneously, people with whom
he is connected by something, though otherwise they may in many respects
be strangers to him. Group Psychology is therefore concerned with the
individual man as a member of a race, of a nation, of a caste, of a
profession, of an institution, or as a component part of a crowd of
people who have been organised into a group at some particular time for
some definite purpose. When once natural continuity has been severed in
this way, it is easy to regard the phenomena that appear under these
special conditions as being expressions of a special instinct that is
not further reducible, the social instinct ('herd instinct', 'group
mind'), which does not come to light in any other situations. But we may
perhaps venture to object that it seems difficult to attribute to the
factor of number a significance so great as to make it capable by itself
or arousing in our mental life a new instinct that is otherwise not
brought into play. Our expectation is therefore directed towards two
other possibilities: that the social instinct may not be a primitive one
and insusceptible of dissection, and that it may be possible to discover
the beginnings of its development in a narrower circle, such as that of
the family.

Although Group Psychology is only in its infancy, it embraces an immense
number of separate issues and offers to investigators countless
problems which have hitherto not even been properly distinguished from
one another.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012571823
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 5/16/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 83 KB

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