The Large Group Re-Visited: The Herd, Primal Horde, Crowds and Masses

The Large Group Re-Visited: The Herd, Primal Horde, Crowds and Masses

The Large Group Re-Visited: The Herd, Primal Horde, Crowds and Masses

The Large Group Re-Visited: The Herd, Primal Horde, Crowds and Masses

Synopsis

This important and thought-provoking book explores the workings and dynamics of the large group, with clear descriptions of both theory and technique. Building on Kreeger's earlier collection of papers, this volume shows how large-group concepts in group analysis have evolved to become important tools in understanding the social interactive processes operating in conferences, workshops, training institutes and large organizations such as hospitals, psychiatric communities and government agencies and even operate in virtual groups formed on the internet.The authors consider issues of leadership and order, the control and expression of aggression, spiritual and therapeutic experiences, the maintenance of individuals' identities and the development of culture in the context of larger groups. Engaging with a broad set of contexts, this book will be of practical use to all those who seek fuller understanding of the social and psychological processes underlying group dynamics, including group analysts, sociologists, policy makers and consultants.

Excerpt

As I write this in April 2003 the media are full of the war in Iraq, the downfall of the cities, the breakdown of civil society, the fear of continuing chaos and anarchy. Since the first large group book appeared in 1975, we have witnessed or participated in huge political and social changes such as the fall of the Iron Curtain, the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, the overthrow of tyrannical regimes in the Balkan countries. Political scientists have used the insights of psychoanalysts and group analysts to grasp more deeply the nature of these conflicts, to see how some repair work can be done as the map of the world is ripped up and new geographies are formed.

The Large Group Re-Visited: the Herd, Primal Horde, Crowds and Masses refers back to Large Group, which Kreeger edited in 1975. That pioneering book had a direct historical link to therapeutic community rehabilitation pioneered during World War II: Bion, Foulkes, Main, Bridger and de Maré were cited. the flow of ideas from war-time psychiatry led to reforms in large psychiatric institutions: the dawning awareness of the exploratory power of large groups was pioneered by British and American psychiatrists and significant thoughtful exploration of this work appeared in Kreeger’s Large Group. Since then, the median and large group movement has rippled out across much of the world, principally Western Europe, the United States and parts of the former Soviet Union. in my own contribution, I report some traveller’s tales from the many parts of the world that I have visited and where I have taken part in large group experiences.

During a lengthy career in psychiatry, psychoanalysis and group analysis, I have met and worked with the great majority of contributors to this new book. Having looked for some years for editors of a new large group book, I was pleased and fortunate that two Israeli group analysts . . .

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