chapter  Six
14 Pages

The politics of large groups*

WithPatrick de Maré

The conceptual shift from matter-energy to information flow, marks a major breakthrough in the history of science. The small group, by its very nature, displays only the most fragmentary evidence of social dynamics. The large group, offers a possible tool for exploring the interface between the polarised and split areas of psychotherapy and sociotherapy.The author suggests that social systems be broken down into two categories: Primary structures and Secondary structures. In certain countries, one feels the group therapists are compelled for political reasons to adopt a stringently psychoanalytic stance, maintaining, therefore, a strictly neutral "academic" position, since social insight acts as a two-way mirror—not only into the individual's social behavior. The impact of the large group on its environment is indeed very much more in evidence than that of the small group or the psychoanalytic situation which takes place behind closed doors; witness the precarious careers of certain therapeutic communities threatened or even destroyed by political and administrative interference.