Abstract: Freud’s analysis of crowd psychology is the final result of the traumatic impact of the Great War. First, he introduced the notion of death-drive as the dimension beyond the pleasure-principle; then, he analyzed the formation of social groups which bring individuals to forsake their ‘rational’ behavior and surrender to self-destructive violence. Freud’s analysis should be supplemented by Lacan’s distinctions between superego, Ego- Ideal and ideal ego – through this triad, we can understand today’s rise of the new figure of obscene Master.


Abstract: This commentary of Freud’s seminal essay from 1921, Mass-psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, celebrating the 100th anniversary of its publication, is an experiment in reading the text and assessing its problems at the intersection of several perspectives: it relies on the inclusion of the text within successive textual ‘constellations’ which involve the recognition that a political element is intrinsic to the construction of psychoanalytical concepts, and the possibility of using psychoanalysis as a framework for the analysis of contemporary enduring forms of institutional racism, which reacts on our understanding of psychoanalysis itself. What emerges is a remarkable figure of representation and elusion of the State as an agency of identification and repression organizing the psychic apparatus from without.

Klein Revisited: A Re-evaluation of Klein’s Meaning for Psychoanalysis

This contribution re-evaluates the theoretical foundations of Kleinian psychoanalysis. Both the resistance to her work outside England and the relevance it has for working with children and psychotic patients are considered. Klein stresses the crucial importance of constitutional elements in psychic development and consequently focuses on internal dispositions and fantasies. The concepts of death-drive, continuity between normality and pathology, projective identification, and unconscious fantasy are explained and illustrated with clinical material. Finally their consequences for our diagnostic and therapeutic thinking are considered.

Manifestations of Thanatos, when the Demand for Love elicits a Negative Response

Based on clinical experience, this article examines some manifestations of the death-drive in relation to Lacan’s hypothesis that unwanted children are often prone to commit suicide. When the subject’s demand for love is repeatedly met with a negative response, the result is often a breaking-up of the death-drive. Different manifestations of the death-drive can be a response to the old death-wishes of the mother.

The Death Drive, regarding the Real

Where do we find the link between the Freudian death drive and the Lacanian Real? In this theoretical enquiry we trace the relationship between the growing pains of the death drive and the Real in the writings of Freud and Lacan. With Freud we examine the place of the death drive in a theoretical framework. This search inevitably leads to the constitution of the pleasure experience which is very hard to understand in relation to the death drive. We run into the trauma, which is the pleasurable encounter with the Real. Next we concentrate on the Lacanian elaboration of the death drive in the coming into being of the subject. Through this, we stumble upon the Real as that enigmatic category which escapes any elaboration. This Real is then examined in combination with the death drive in an attempt to formulate their relationship. The Borromean Knot of the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary in masochism concludes this paper.