My Library

University LibraryCatalogue

Limit search to items available for borrowing or consultation
Result Page: Previous Next
Can't find that book? Try BONUS+
Look for full text

Search Discovery

Search CARM Centre Catalogue

Search Trove

Add record to RefWorks

Cover Art
Author Alford, C. Fred.

Title Group psychology and political theory / C. Fred Alford.

Published New Haven : Yale University Press, [1994]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  302.34 ALFO    AVAILABLE
Physical description xi, 223 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 209-214) and index.
Contents A Note on Sex, Gender, and Grammar -- 1. In the Beginning Was the Group -- 2. The Experience of the Small Group -- 3. Theoretical Perspectives on the Small Group: Acting Out the Missing Leader -- 4. Groups Are the State of Nature -- 5. Tocqueville and the Schizoid Compromise: A Reinterpretation of Contemporary Political Theory in Light of Group Theory -- 6. Leadership -- Epilogue: The Wolini.
Summary In this innovative book, C. Fred Alford argues that the group - not the individual - is the most fundamental reality in society and that political theory has overlooked the insights of group psychology and leadership. Basing his argument on his experience with the Tavistock model of group learning (named for the institute in England where this method of group study originated), Alford asserts that small, unstructured, leaderless groups are the closest thing to the state of nature that political theorists write about.
According to Alford, none of the familiar traditions in political theory - including modern state-of-nature theory, liberalism, communitarianism, postmodernism, and feminist theory - makes sense of the group experience. Most contemporary political theorists have erred in starting from the position of the individual and moving to an understanding of the individual's struggle to belong to the group and civil society. Instead, says Alford, political theorists should realize that the group is the state of nature, and that civil society is the product of the individual's struggle to separate from the group and develop a sense of self. Alford's book, like many of the traditional state-of-nature theories, includes an extended anthropological fable, a story about the state of nature that is intended to illustrate its principles.
Subject Small groups.
Political psychology.
ISBN 0300059582 (alk. paper)