Crowds may gather to mourn, to celebrate, to protest, to take flight, or out of sheer curiosity. The large group dynamic oscillates between feelings of depression, elation, fury, persecution and prurience and it always centres on a specific individual or a specific event (real or imagined). Individual and collective reactions in crowd behaviour emerge out of a constant dialectic between fear and desire.
This presentation will connect and compare subjective and collective emotional experiences of participation in mass gatherings from a psychoanalytic perspective. One hundred years of studying these phenomena theoretically and clinically take us from Sigmund Freud and Wilfred Bion to contemporary work by Earl Hopper, Haim Weinberg and others.
Felix de Mendelssohn is a psychoanalyst and group analyst in private practice. He is former Chairman of the Group Analytic Section of IAGP (International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes) and currently teaches at the Sigmund Freud Universities in Vienna and Berlin. Selected publications: Das Psychoanalytische Subjekt: Schriften zur Theorie und Praxis der Psychoanalyse (2010) und Die Gegenbewegung der Engel: Psychoanalytische Schriften zu Kunst und Gesellschaft (2010).