Darwin, Freud, and Group Conflict

  • Jim Hopkins
Part of the Studies in the Psychosocial book series (STIP)


Political violence is a manifestation of the human disposition towards in-group cooperation for out-group conflict. We can best understand this disposition by combining a Darwinian account of group conflict with psychoanalytic group psychology as developed by Freud and Bion. In this perspective we can see the disposition towards group conflict as having evolved together with the mechanisms of identification and projection – mechanisms that we can also see as fostering this disposition, with identification supporting in-group cooperation and projection supporting out-group conflict. We thus see group conflict as a social manifestation of the individual emotional conflicts that are expressed in dreams and phantasy, that give rise to mental disorder, and from which we seek relief in the identifications and projections that sustain human group activity.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, King’s College LondonLondonUK

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