FROM MASS TO MESS: IDENTIFICATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS
Summary: Getting to the heart of Freud’s Massenpsychologie, from one angle, depends on an understanding of the term ‘identification’ in Freud, precisely as, analysis of the ego. The problem is that, according to Freud, and his faithful reader, Lacan: There is no identification. Always moving between a form of unity or unification and a singular trait that is not part of whole, a complex movement and the mere appearance of unity in dreams, speech, or symptom formation, introjection of the other and projection of the ego, identification is itself the paradox of a one that psychoanalysis constantly dissolves, complicates, indeed multiplies. What problems does this pose to the psychoanalytic meta- psychological conceptual edifice, no less the very clinical practice of psychoanalysis itself? And how can we extend this to the question of hysteria and the contagion of mass psychology?