Abstract: Freud, in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, restricts his focus to ‘stable’ or ‘artificial’ groups organized around identification with the leader as ideal ego, and not the political and revolutionary masses that were the primary focus of his most important predecessors. This paper argues that the dynamics of popular revolutionary crowds and some of the ways those were understood at the time – for example through the lens of Mesmerism – nevertheless make crucial additions to Freud’s mass psychology because they attest to forms of unconscious, bodily transmission between members of the collective that are not reducible to the mechanisms of identification. In dialogue with Kant’s and Rousseau’s discussions of sympathetic enthusiasm and the general will, it asks what the Freud ofMoses and Monotheismand the late essays on telepathy might have contributed to the project of a mass psychology beyond the ego.
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