The Fourth Basic Assumption: Incohesion: Aggregation/Massification or (ba) I:A/M
Earl Hopper, in his important, profound and well reasoned book introduces a fourth Basic Assumption (Incohesion) to the three Basic assumptions (of Flight/ Fight, Pairing and Dependency) introduced by Bion. Hopper's theory of Incohesion provides us with a new way of thinking about annihilation anxiety, which he discusses in terms of the unconscious fears of annihilation connected to the fears of separation.'- System Centered News'What we may learn most from reading Hopper's profound thinking presented in this surprisingly readable book is how he makes the bridge from his theory to the treatment of difficult patients. He identifies aggregation and Massification as a characteristic of regressed groups. In groups of the traumatized, however, where survivor guilt, and perhaps more important, survivor shame underlies the suffering, Aggregation and Massification are likely to be chronic.' - Yvonne AgazarianWorking within the traditions of Bion, Turquet, Foulkes and Pines, and drawing on concepts and data from psychoanalysis, group analysis and sociology, this volume develops Earl Hopper's theory of the fourth basic assumption in the unconscious life of groups and group-like social systems within a social, cultural and political transgenerational context. He argues that Incohesion: Aggregation/Massification or (ba) I:A/M (an acronym for 'I AM' - an assertion of personal identity when identity is under threat) is based on the fear of annihilation stemming from traumatic experience. With full respect for the constraints of the social unconscious, the personification of aggregation and massification by patients with crustacean, contact-shunning and amoeboid, merger-hungry characteristics, respectively, is illustrated with detailed clinical vignettes involving drug addicts, victims of incest and sexual abuse, and child survivors of the Shoah. Concluding with critical commentaries by senior British and American group analysts and psychoanalysts, this volume is essential reading for both analysts and their students.