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Reading Sigmund Freud’s Group psychology today Professor Deborah Britzman Keynote Lecture

Deborah Britzman, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of English at York University, Canada, gave a CCIG keynote lecture within CCIG Forum 12. “Reading Sigmund Freud’s Group psychology today” Freud’s 1921 study, “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” is used as an occasion for raising a number of conundrums for social theory, education, and psychoanalysis.

This lecture returns to Freud’s text as a turning point in psychoanalytic theory and as an argument for thinking freedom. I raise a number of questions. Why does Freud turn to mythology and to the poets when constructing affecting problems of identification found in ordinary modes of cultural life? Why do groups create libidinal ties? What counts as group psychology if what also counts is the unconscious and sexuality? Can individual psychology shed light on the analysis of the social order?

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