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Wolfenstein, E.V. (1990). Group phantasies and ‘the individual’ A critical analysis of psychoanalytic group psychology. Free Associations, 1U(20):150-180.

(1990). Free Associations, 1U(20):150-180

Group phantasies and ‘the individual’ A critical analysis of psychoanalytic group psychology

Eugene Victor Wolfenstein

During the autumn semester of 1958 President Eisenhower paid a ceremonial visit to Columbia College. He was driven in state across College Walk in an automobile caravan. I was not interested in seeing him, but a friend of mine — a Democrat by party affiliation and a sophisticate by personal inclination — decided to take a look. He returned to the dormitory some time later feeling rather bemused and even a bit chagrined. He reported that at first he had stood on the outside of the crowd, looking on with mild interest. But as the cheers mounted and the car bearing the President approached, he found himself pushing forward into the crowd, and then running alongside the President's car, yelling ‘Ike. Ike!’ He was somewhat at a loss to explain his behaviour, and so was I. But then neither of us had read Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego.

I wish to make some remarks concerning psychoanalytic group psychology and political theory. Their meaning will be clearer if the following considerations are kept in mind.1


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