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Peto, A. (1975). On Crowd Violence: The Role of Archaic Superego and Body Image. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 2:449-466.

(1975). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 2:449-466

On Crowd Violence: The Role of Archaic Superego and Body Image

Andrew Peto


The paper attempts to present formulations on crowd action beyond Freud's considerations in 1921. Intra-systemic regressions in the body image (Greenacre, 1972)and corresponding regressions of the superego system are considered responsible for the outbreak of violence in the course of crowd action. The latter is interpreted as a panic reaction to the contradictory and clashing threat of emerging archaic superego demands which precipitate an intra-systemic conflict series. This then develops into an inter-systemic conflict between ego and superego structures and may lead through externalization either to self-defeat or to annihilation of the opposition. It is the relationship between chance and reality which determines which of these two possibilities ensues.

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