Ibelieve it was the analyst John Klauber who once remarked that it takes ten years of post-training practice to truly "become" a psychoanalyst. Presumably what he meant by this was that it takes years of reflection, accumulated professional experience, and plain personal growth to come to one's own mind, as it were, on what one is about. I think the same applies to becoming a group analyst, even if there is no magic in the number ten. Part of becoming a group analyst, at least for those with an active interest in theory, is deepening one's understanding of the basis and potential of group analytic concepts. My contribution in this book has taken approximately eight years; that is how long it took to come to my own mind (critical distance?), albeit in fits and starts and with prolonged bursts and a few respites.

The World within the Group is my endeavour to connect group analysis to several developments in philosophy, historical inquiry, and modern social theory, which group analysis can both contribute to and be nourished by. I did not set out with the idea of a book, but as a result of several disparate adventures in writing, the idea of bringing something together, in one place, fermented. There is no single theme or central hypothesis, but rather a number of inquiries and themes that are in effect multiple promptings, whose purpose is to expand the horizons of group analysis. Each chapter should be read as an essay, using that word in the old sense of "attempt" or "trial", as in an attempt to develop a theory or to trial an idea. They can be read separately or together, as there are several threads connecting them. In fact, I have come to prefer the essay form as a way of saying things, of venturing ideas.

Writing style is hardly a secondary matter. The aesthetic dimension of writing matters to me. How we put things and find our way in and through words matters to me. My training supervisor (Dr Harold Behr) underlined for me the importance of crafting our language with our clients. After all, as Wittgenstein reminded us, words, and also deeds, are acts of intervention. As for this act of intervention, this traveling of theory, I have now "let it go", with the trust that it will prompt new and interesting dialogues .

Martin Weegmann London


The glossary is not comprehensive, but selects the main terms which appear more than once, or which contain a concept/theme that travels between more than one chapter.


The abject, and abjection, derives from the Latin abicere (to cast out, to degrade, and so on); Julia Kristeva uses it as an emblem of pollution, referring to those elements that disturb and threaten the social body or self.


In the political theory of Ernesto Laclau, articulation concerns struggles to fix meaning and so to define reality, at least temporarily. It performs an ordering function with respect to discursive elements.


In a formal sense, contingency refers to events or circumstances that are possible but which cannot be predicted. Ernesto Laclau develops

165 a theory of the social that is characterised by contingency and articulations which can never be closed or totalised; something always escapes and thus the social is subject to continual rearticulation.


An influential nineteenth-century "theory" of regression and deviation, bodies could be said to be degenerate, whole societies could degenerate and be threatened by the existence of "dangerous groups".


Plato suggested that thinking is a form of "dialogue with oneself". Actual dialogue requires interplay between persons, involving an unfolding, never completed process, to which each and every partner contributes; no one stays where they started, as it were. In the theory of the dialogical self, as developed by psychologists Hubert Hermans and Giancarlo Dimaggio, self is seen as multivoiced, as "society of mind".


In general, the discursive pertains to any aspect of meaning, whether linguistic or otherwise.

Effective history

Understanding occurs against a background of our prior involvement, on the basis of our history; understanding and interpretation for Hans Georg Gadamer always occurs from within a particular "horizon" that is determined by our historically determined positions.

Emotional communities

Emotional communities are networks of mental and emotional association, occurring in social communities. Historian Barbara Rosenwein is interested in the "systems of feeling" that occur in such communities and what this tells us about their outlook, bonds, and the kinds of emotional expression they expect, encourage, and prohibit.

Exclusionary matrix

Medieval historian Robert Mills uses the phrase to describe dangerous, abject regions and figures within society, representing a counter-side to order and reason. I have used in a nineteenth-century context.


The concept used by Norbert Elias to describe human interdependencies and their evolution. It is said that his earlier medical studies, when he saw the interconnections and interweaving of bones, muscles, and nerves, made a lasting impression and one that he transported to the social/historical realm.

Foundational (matrix)

S. H. Foulkes defined the "foundation matrix" as a store of shared communication and archaic meanings that pre-exist and inform the emergence of current and new groups, including the therapy group.


The Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci outlined a theory of hegemony concerning the manufacture of consent and legitimisation in society ("common sense"). Counter-hegemonic struggle, by contrast, pursues alternatives to the dominant culture. Ernesto Laclau extends Gramsi's views, arguing that hegemonic struggle centres around "floating signifiers" that are open to rearticulation and contestation.

Historical psychology

Norbert Elias proposed a new discipline of historical psychology (and historical sociology). In his view, "minds" and mentalities could only be understood when placed within the processes that shaped and defined them; human beings are forever interdependent creatures.


For Hans Goerg Gadamer, horizon is the larger context of meaning in which particular understandings take place. Understanding involves a "fusion of horizons" and the formation of new contexts of meaning. Personal horizons carve out experiential planes, creating possibilities and limitations to articulation.

Imagined communities

Benedict Anderson develops the notion of imagined communities with respect to the case of nationalism, where he notes that it cannot possibly arise from face-to-face familiarity. Instead, members hold an image and symbols of their affinity and mutual identification. The concept can be productively applied to many groups other than national ones.


Interpellation is a process of recognition, of how individuals are addressed and "hailed" as subjects, in relation to a master Subject/ Term, who "calls" them. Political philosopher Louis Althusser used the idea as a component of his theory of ideology.


In the psychoanalytic theory of Robert Stolorow and colleagues, inter-subjectivity is a paradigm inspired by several traditions, philosophic and analytic. Intersubjectivity rejects what it sees as the "myth of the isolated mind" and of fixed intrapsychic structures, emphasizing instead the constitutive interplay of subjective worlds and dynamic and interderminate processes of development.


S. H. Foulkes characterised the matrix as a "hypothetical web of communication and relationship". He distinguished the "dynamic matrix" observed in the active life of the therapy group and the "foundation matrix" of shared meanings, cultural images, and other aspects of human life and emotionality.


Narrative refers to an account or description and, according to Paul Ricoeur, involves an ordering of the world by the imagination. "Narrate" derives from both "telling" (narrare) and "knowing in some particular way" (gnarus). Many theorists have developed theories of narrative and how humans tell the stories of their lives, as it were.


Friedrich Nietzsche's perspectivism rejected the idea of absolute knowledge, independent of particular perspectives about the world. Perspectives depend on language, rhetoric, culture, and history.


Borrowing this metaphor from eighteenth-century faculty psychology, I use the term to describe the "filling out" and expansion of the group matrix and group horizons. It is also linked to nineteenth-century accounts of group/mass and social body.


Pragmatism is associated with a number of American philosophers, particularly James, Dewey, and Pierce. According to pragmatists, thought does not so much represent or mirror reality, but is an instrument of inquiry, action, and problem-solving. Pragmatists sought to overcome many of the traditional polarities and concerns of philosophy. Rejecting the idea of the detached observer, they acknowledged the social, adaptive nature of all inquiry.


I use the term to describe the "long history" of the English Reformation and its manifold implications on the reformation of social and personal life, including the emphasis on a more personal God and new narratives of conduct, conscience, and self-inspection.


In the sociology of Anthony Giddens, reflexivity refers to acts of self-reference, with examination or action "looping back" on itself and hence instituting a cycle of change. In his theory of "reflexive modernity" he argues that modern society is "post-traditional" and increasingly self-aware and reflective. Amongst those changes are new versions of intimacy and "equal" relationships.

Social body

In the nineteenth century, the notion of social body concerned representation of the population as an aggregate. Linked to governance, the notion enabled new definitions of the public and private realms, and influenced targets of reform and improvement. Foucault's work is especially concerned with the relations between political power and the body, and the varied historical ways that bodies were trained and discursively configured.

Social imaginary

Social theorist Charles Taylor sees the social imaginary as a creative and symbolic aspect of the social world, reflective of how individuals imagine their existence and collective life.

Social unconsciousness

I propose a theory of social unconsciousness based on a work of articulation and composition—social unconsciousness as movement, generation, fluidity. It is impossible to finally fix social horizons or to know social unconsciousness once and for all, since it is always behind, before, and around us.


Sociologist Edward Shils notes that the traditional is based on traditum, something handed down from past to present, also tradere or traderer, meaning to transmit. Not all inherited meaning has the same value, as a selective and hegemonic process operates. For Hans-Georg Gadamer, tradition refers to this dimension of legacy or historicity.


S. H. Foulkes uses the metaphor of traffic to describe the flow that happens between groups, or to characterise transpersonal processes.

Unsought known

Christopher Bollas used the term to describe experiences or inarticulate psychic elements that are "known", but not yet thought. The unsought known becomes the thought known by articulation and reliving in language. There are similarities to Donnel Stern's notion of "unformulated experience".


The image of world-making suggests a process of definition, making distinctions, of taking apart and putting together. Philosopher Nelson Goodman uses the notion in relation to his aesthetic theory whilst sociologist Peter Berger argues that every society is an enterprise of world-building.

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