Taking the Group Seriously: Towards a Post-Foulkesian Group Analytic Theory

Author(s): Farhad Dalal


In this critique and extension of Foulkes' work, Farhad Dalal presents a contemporary appraisal of the theory of group psychoanalysis as a whole. Although Foulkes is considered to be the founder of group analysis, Dalal argues that he was ultimately unable to take the group seriously because he did not develop a specific set of group concepts. The book describes how Foulkes was torn between the traditional individualistic framework of Freud and the less orthodox ideas of the sociologist Elias. Dalal demonstrates how this dichotomy compromised Foulkes' thesis, and offers his own post-Foulkesian interpretation of group analytic theory. Divided into six sections which trace the history of ideas behind group work, this book lays the foundation for a new group analytic theory.


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Part 1 Freud: Freud - culturalist or nativist?; Freud - idealist or materialist?; the Freudian infant; the development of psychological structures; phylogeny; in and between groups; the Freudian view of groups; summary. Part 2 Foulkes: the basis of Foulkes' radical ideas; Foulkes' developmental model; modifying the Freudian developmental frame; between the internal and external; recasting the life and death instincts; three group-specific ideas; the matrix; a summary of the ideas of radical Foulkes; application of the theories; hostility and aggression; summary. Part 3 Interlude between Foulkes and Elias: interlude figuring out the ground; an overview of structuralism and post-structuralism. Part 4 Elias: figuration; power relations; symbol theory; a bird's eye view; power relations II; the preservation of power differentials. Part 5 Biology: hot air and desire; order and chaos; the co-operative gene; the evolution of culture; the return of group selection; free will and determinism; summary. Part 6 Elements of a post-Foulkesian group analytic theory: belonging; overview of Matte-Blanco's theory; the structure of thought; a digression; increasing the complexities of belonging; a partial summary; identity crisis; the emotional need to belong; from here to infinity - further structures of thinking; name-calling and hair-splitting; a reprise; a reformation of the notion of identity; mind the gap; conflict; power relations in action; the social unconscious; cultural transmission and cohesion; the therapy group; constraint and order.

General Fields

  • : 9781853026423
  • : Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • : Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • : August 1998
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Farhad Dalal
  • : Paperback
  • : 150.195
  • : 200
  • : Illustrations