Group Psychology, Society, and Masses
Working with the Victims of Social Violence
ByYolanda Gampel
Pages 25

In his third work, Group Psychology, written after World War I, Sigmund Freud enters the field of social psychology; he explores the connection between power and the manipulation of masses; and he tells the history of the individual and of society. Freud anticipated in his Group Psychology the rise of the uncivilized mob, whose attachment to a powerful leader embodying a group's feelings and values could provide compensatory modes of behavior and unreflective social action. Freud, through Le Bon, describes a mass as a "living crowd" in need of a sense of safety and looking up to its leader for an ego ideal. The major question that Freud posed, as did Wilfred Bion, is how to make the dark, irrational, primitive forces in man manageable. Freud called them drives, whereas Bion managed the problem by assuming a double-aspect in man, especially the man-in-a-group: the rational/scientific and the irrational/primitive, lost in fantasy.