What are the psychological factors in operation when we form groups or crowds, and how are these affected by socio-historical circumstances? History offers endless examples of different forms of human collectivity, both private and public, small-scale and large: from the primal horde to the modern nuclear family, from the Athenian polis to virtual internet communities. Within the context of shifting social bonds in global culture, this book brings together debates on the left from political philosophy, psychoanalysis, social psychology and media and cultural studies to explore the logic of the formation of collective identities from a new theoretical perspective. Challenging liberal-capitalist models of individualism, as well as postmodern identity politics, analysts here turn to Continental philosophy (Lacan, Derrida, Agamben, Laclau, Badiou, among others) in order to re-think collectivity in relation to questions of agency, alterity, affect, sovereignty, the national imaginary and the biopolitical. In the aftermath of the great mass movements of the twentieth century (Marxist-Leninism, Mao), which resulted in bureaucratic submission and the cult of the State, the fate of our collective identity today raises urgent questions about the future of collaborative activity, the role of mediating institutions in shaping mass psychology, what is at stake in a radical democracy, and what happens in a crowd.

part I|46 pages

Psychoanalysis and the Group

chapter 1|15 pages

Brother Animal's Long Tail

Sigmund Freud, Victor Tausk and Intellectual Influence
ByMandy Merck

chapter 2|14 pages

Mass Enjoyment and the Society of the Camp

The Revised Case of Dorian Gray
ByPaccaud-Huguet Josiane

chapter 3|15 pages

Interview with Ernesto Laclau

ByParkin-Gounelas Ruth

part II|54 pages

What's in a Crowd?

chapter 4|19 pages

Crowds, Agency and Passion

Reconsidering the Roots of the Social Bond
ByReicher Stephen

chapter 5|17 pages

“A Swinish Multitude” versus

“A Crowd of Golden Daffodils”
ByPoliti Jina

chapter 6|16 pages

The Masses as a “Vanishing Mediator”

Class and Politics in Dušan Kovačević's The Professional
ByHomer Sean

part III|64 pages

Global Networks and Mass Identifications

chapter 7|15 pages

Globality, the Totalitarian Mass and National Belonging

ByYiannopoulou Effie

chapter 9|16 pages

“Touching Everyone”

Media Identifications, Imagined Communities and New Media Technologies in the Case of Madeleine McCann
ByRehling Nicola

chapter 10|15 pages

Swarm Intelligence

Blogging and On-Line Subjectivities
ByBriel Holger