Psychotic Group Text

A Psychoanalytic Inquiry Into the Production of Moral Conscience

in Social Analysis
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This essay analyzes the psychological dynamic of disintegration anxiety by examining its presence in the tradition of political theory, its role in the development of group norms, and its impact on ideology. The author contends that whereas psychosis in individuals constrains and isolates them, in group settings psychotic behavior unites and energizes its members, relieving the collective of its anxieties. In looking at Nazi Germany, the author discusses the means by which not just the SS but the entire professional, academic, and scientific communities in the dominant group made mass murder possible. Radical insecurities and paranoiagenic phantasies of the group possess a logic and action component that distinguish them from their effect on the individual. Whereas for the individual, delusion is considered dysfunctional and crippling, on the political level, it becomes dynamic public policy. Psychotic group states, then, possess an instrumentality and consequence far different from psychosis in the individual.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology