From Tribal Division to Welcoming Inclusion: Psychoanalytic Perspectives provides a fascinating contribution to our understanding of the increasingly polarized and divisive nature of global politics. By describing the significant role of early mental mechanisms in interactions between the individual and society, the book offers a unique understanding of how our early mental life explains the social, cultural and political positions we assume later.
Splitting and projection are early defences meant to shield the growing mind from unbearable aspects of reality, but they hinder our capacity for open-minded thought, and in contributing to the dangerous atmosphere of "us versus them", introduce tribal myths of an innocent group and external persecutors. The book illustrates these distortions of reality using a range of vignettes, notably the myth of white supremacy and the savage legacy of the Civil War in the United States. Gaining support from the work of Wilfred Bion, the book emphasises the need for integration of mind and the restoration of our capacity to face painful realities, including one’s own violence and hatred.
This psychoanalytic study provides a balm for turbulent times. It will be of great interest to researchers and interested readers in the broad field of psychoanalysis, as well as those in the fields of political science, cultural studies and anthropology.