Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego

The Trans-Individual Moment
By Étienne Balibar

The speculative anthropology of Totem and Taboo is present in “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” as a form of auto-refutation of an eminently political nature. This is because the theoretical advent of a properly trans-individual structure, from which stem both the individual and the social, maximizes the tension with the evolutionist myth. But by turning the individual into an effect of the group, the new Freudian ontology of the relationship that draws on the schema of identification opens onto two opposing paths of interpretation. One of them, a regressive path, identifies the genesis of the group with the repetition of the originary parricide: it posits the regression to indistinctness on the model of hypnosis. The other, a repressive path, posits the Superego as the origin of guilt in order to conceptualize individualization as an autonomization in relation to the group.


  • unconscious
  • politics
  • anthropology
  • social sciences
  • identification
  • history
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