Collective Guilt as a Force for Change

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Authors

Abstract

Systems psychodynamics scholars and practitioners believe that when people assemble for a task, two forms of mental activity occur simultaneously: The task-oriented work group and the anxiety-fueled basic assumption group. Much has been written about the dynamics of basic assumption groups yet relatively little research has examined the work group or the space between configurations, what Winnicott might have called the ‘potential space’ between one identifiable group position and another. The following paper addresses this gap by hypothesizing that under the right conditions an instinctive, developmental push— an unconscious sense of guilt—may propel some basic assumption groups’ swing back to work mode. Areas warranting further research will also be identified.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalSocioanalysis
Volume9
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • collective guilt , group violence , systems psychodynamics , Wilfred Bion , basic assumptions