This paper aims to explore severe societal–political divisions and interferences with democratic processes and human rights issues in many locations around the world, including in the United States, and examines the role of leader–follower relationships related to such developments. The term “large group” describes hundreds, thousands or millions of people— most of whom will never see or even know about each other as individuals, but who share many of the same sentiments. This paper first describes how a child becomes a member of a large-group and how adults sometimes develop a second type of large-group identity. Looking at such phenomena provides the background data needed to examine the spread of the metaphorical question, “Who are we now?” worldwide, as well as to examine the evolution of present-day authoritarian regimes, extreme right-wing politics and rhetoric, wall-building, and societal–political divisions.
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Vamik D. Volkan, M.D., is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Address Correspondence to: Vamik D. Volkan, M. D., 1909 Stillhouse Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA.
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Volkan, V.D. LARGE-GROUP IDENTITY, WHO ARE WE NOW? LEADER–FOLLOWER RELATIONSHIPS AND SOCIETAL–POLITICAL DIVISIONS. Am J Psychoanal 79, 139–155 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-019-09186-2
- suitable reservoirs of externalization
- chosen trauma
- chosen glory
- time collapse
- pseudo species
- soul murder
- glass-bubble fantasy