chapter  4
14 Pages

The politics of large groups

WithPatrick de Maré

The conceptual shift from matter-energy to information flow, previously confused, 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. To apply small-group or psychoanalytic models to the large group is like trying to play ludo on a chess-board. The large group has two very powerful aspects and, given the opportunity, an equally powerful capacity to contain and convey its own power. The system becomes freed of redundant hierarchy in favour of self-regulation, away from "mindless, crushing, machiavellism of manipulations through coercion and power. It has its own currency and styles of control and guidance in the micropolitics of such strategies as silence, ridicule, boycott, ignoring, punctuating, timing, stimulating, promoting, in atmospheres which can on occasion be 'cut with a knife'. The large-group situation needs to be set up, and the time, the regularity, the encouragement and a suitable locus established.