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Hinshelwood, R. (1990). Massification. Free Associations, 1T(19):117-123.

(1990). Free Associations, 1T(19):117-123


Robert Hinshelwood

Unconscious Contracts: A Psycho-Analytical Theory of Society, by Michael Allingham, Routledge & Kegan PaulM, 1987, 136 pages, £14.95 hb

Therapeutic Factors in Group Psychotherapy, by Sidney Bloch and Eric Crouch, Oxford University Press, 1987, 342 pages, £8.95 pb (hb published 1985)

The aggregation into a whole social unit of the subordinate parts, the individuals, defines the unique focus of social psychology. The individual as a system in himself cannot be considered apart from the social context in which he exists. This is an issue that has pressed in on psychoanalysis from the beginning of its development. Freud gave rise to various approaches to the social group, at first on the basis of the group's having unconscious determinants that were simply translated from individual psychology; Totem and Taboo (Freud, 1913) is a group version of the Oedipus complex of the individual. He specifically acknowledged Jung's idea of the collective unconscious, as if the Oedipus complex and its manifestation at the group and social level is ahistorical, and this of course was followed up by Malinowski and others.

However, Freud meanwhile had moved away from this simple correlation of individual and group psychology when he wrote Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (Freud, 1921).

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