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Love, artificiality and mass identification

Hook, Derek (2014) Love, artificiality and mass identification. Psychodynamic Practice, 20 (2). pp. 128-143. ISSN 1475-3634

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14753634.2014.894224


How are we to understand the phenomenon of mass identification, epitomised in recent exhibitions of national feeling such as that of South Africa’s 2010 Football World Cup celebrations? Rather than focusing on the concepts of discourse and nationalism, or advancing an analysis of empirical data, this paper outlines a conceptual response to the challenge at hand, drawing on the tools of psychoanalytic theory. Three explanatory perspectives come to the fore. Firstly, such exhibitions of mass emotion might be understood as demonstrations of love, as examples of the libidinal ties that constitute and consolidate mass identification. Secondly, the marked artificiality of such displays of emotion and the fact of the ‘externality’ they entail might be seen, paradoxically, to be essential rather than inauthentic or secondary features of the displays in question. Thirdly, we might advance, via Lacan, that many of our most powerful emotions require not only recourse to the field of the inter-subjective, but reference also to the anonymous, ‘fictional’ framework of available symbolic forms.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 13:49
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 02:22
Funders: International Social Research Foundation

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