The Large Group: Dynamics and Therapy

By Lionel Kreeger | Go to book overview

9. Large groups in natural settings An anthropological view

Myles Hopper

This paper summarises our work to date in an experimental community development project in Newfoundland using large groups in natural settings.1 These groups were initiated as one desirable means to organise and encourage wider community involvement in efforts towards social change, although there is no doubt that people participated in them for personal therapeutic reasons as well.

As director of the project, the author came to this experiment as an anthropologist with professional experience in applied work in both urban and rural areas. What is presented below are observations regarding large groups which have emerged during the course of this work and which have been broadened by the Newfoundland experiment. Because the entire subject matter under discussion in this paper, and indeed in the other papers presented in this volume, is relatively new it should be pointed out that the issues raised reflect some of the major interests and predilections of the author and not necessarily those of anthropology as a field of study.

There is much in anthropological literature which indicates the existence and importance of numerous types of large groups in society. However, little formal attention has been directed to the specific study of large groups used deliberately as vehicles for therapeutic experiences. At the same time, it can be stated that the general approach of anthropology is well suited for the subject matter under consideration in this volume.

Many features of the discipline might, but for considerations of

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