Networks * Groups * Boundaries: Polarities in network society and new fields to study

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Networks * Groups * Boundaries - Polarities in network society and new fields to study I. Groups and networks – a short history of two influential social concepts and movements It is interesting how much the social history of the network concept and the history of the group concept looks alike. The group movement started after the Hawthorn studies and peaked in the 60ies and the 70ies. Group work, group therapy, rock music performed by groups, base-groups for women, base-groups for men, for mothers, group relations conferences, etc. The group movement was anti-hierarchy and anti-authority. The group was idealized in many ways. Out with lectures and professors and in with discussions in groups. Out with family and in with collectives. Don’t follow leaders. Use self-governing groups and democracy! Since John Naisbitt's book Megatrends from 1980, where hierarchy and networks are set against each other and the latter is positioned as the future organization, the network concept has spread beyond societies and organizations. The network concept is followed by connotations of security net, flat and flexible structure, democracy, ant-hierarchy, no directors, open for everyone etc. There is a tendency to idealize networks, to call all new and smart things for networks even if some of them are just the good old group popping up. First in the later years, the dark side of the internet has been noticed and like fish in the fisherman’s net we are caught and used for trading, marketing, influencers etc (. II. Differences and similarities between groups and networks Both groups and networks are and were, and still are, presented as hierarchy-free and democratic phenomena. Both seem more complicated after a closer look. One of the important differences is that networks are potential admission to resources while groups (and systems) are related to a task and have boundaries. When you actually use your network the relevant parts of it turn into a task related and bounded group. How can these processes be studied? Does it make sense to form network groups? III. Detour: how to use psychanalytic understanding outside the consulting room These questions lead to the question of how to use psychoanalytic understanding outside the consulting room. Eric Miller and Shapiro & Carr has done useful work here, but the paper will like to add ideas from the work of the German psychoanalyst Alfred Lorenzer’s and especially his concept scenic understanding to the ideas from the psychodynamic systems thinking. IV. Ideas for how to address network dynamics, and combining network and group dynamics from a psychoanalytic point of view. The last part of the paper will present ideas for what a psychoanalytic study of networks and groups can be or become. Is there such a thing as – like group dynamics and group relations - network dynamics. By which images, fantasies and scenic configurations do we relate to the networks? Lauritzen, A.M. & Stjernfelt, F. (2018): Dit opslag er blevet fjernet. Techgiganter og ytringsfrihed. København: Gyldendal. Miller, E. (1993): ”Values and Concepts.” In: From dependency to Autonomy. Studies in organization and change. London: Free Associations Books Ltd. Pg. 3-26. Naisbitts, J. (1980): Megatrends. New York: Warner Books Olesen, H.S. & Weber, K. (2012): “Socialization, Language, and Scenic Understanding. Alfred Lorenzer's Contribution to a Psycho-societal Methodology.” In: Forum: qualitative social research, sozialforschung. Volume 13, No. 3. Pg. 2-29. Shapiro, E. & Carr, A.W. (1991): Lost in Familiar Places: Creating New Connections Between the Individual and Society. New Haven: Yale University Press
Translated title of the contributionNetværk * Grupper * Grænser: Polariteter i netværkssamfundet og nye forskningsfelter
Original languageEnglish
Publication date28 Jun 2019
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019
Eventhe ISPSO AM 2019 in New York: Perspectives on Polarities: Thinking below the Surface - Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Ave, New York City, United States
Duration: 24 Jun 201930 Jun 2019


Symposiumhe ISPSO AM 2019 in New York
LocationManhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Ave
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York City
Internet address

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