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Glover, E. (1929). Psycho-Analytical Groundwork in Group Psychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:162-169.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:162-169

Psycho-Analytical Groundwork in Group Psychology

Edward Glover

The right of the psycho-analyst to appraise the mental data of authropology and to regard the main problems of sociology as coming within his province has been maintained by none more stoutly than by Ernest Jones; and, it need hardly be added, he has justified this claim in a series of essays in which the findings of individual (psycho-analytic) psychology have been made to illuminate various obscure aspects of group activity (custom, myth, folklore, etc.). As he has pointed out, direct observation of data (field-work) is one only of the pre-requisites for effective investigation, the other being an adequate grounding in psycho-analytic science. This legitimate assumption of interpretative privilege on the part of the psycho-analyst brings with it, however, certain responsibilities, the most arduous of which is that no field of investigation should be allowed to lie fallow. The object of the present communication is to draw attention to a hiatus in those psycho-analytical investigations which bear directly on problems of group psychology. The data in question afford direct evidence in support of the psycho-analytic theory of group-formation and at the same time shew that many psycho-analytical findings as to infantile development might have been deduced from a study of early group-formations. Finally, they give the psycho-analyst opportunities of 'field work' in anthropology which up till now have been the preserve of more travelled investigators. The particular field of study I have in mind is represented by the activities of 'pubertal' groups which are formed spontaneously and preserve their formation over a number of years.

If we take Freud's essay on Group Psychology as a model of psycho-analytical approach to this subject, it will be seen that three main sources of information are laid under tribute, viz.

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