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Koh, E. Twemlow, S.W. (2016). Towards a Psychoanalytic Concept of Community (I): Consideration of Current Concepts. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 13(1):53-64.

(2016). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 13(1):53-64

Towards a Psychoanalytic Concept of Community (I): Consideration of Current Concepts

Eugen Koh and Stuart W. Twemlow

“Community” is a word that is used frequently in everyday exchanges and, increasingly, in public policies and government funding strategies. Mental health promotion campaigns strongly promote “community-focused” initiatives. The predominant discourse on the topic of “community” has been from socio-political perspectives. Very little has been written specifically about the nature of communities, or their psychodynamics, from a psychoanalytic perspective. This paper, the first of three, considers three major conceptualizations of communities - philosophical, sociological and ecological - from a psychoanalytic perspective. Within this paradigm, a community, unless arbitrarily defined, is as much a subjective notion as it is an objective entity. Psychoanalysis has much to add to the current thinking on this subject by adding a description of its dynamic qualities, and highlighting the subjective experience (both individual and collective, conscious and unconscious) of communities.

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