By Mark Poster
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Additional resources for Critical Theory of the Family
65] If sexual 37 Freud's Concept of the Family love and group ties are only a recent contradiction, what kind of group psychology existed before they were in opposition? Freud does not probe this important question. At stake here is the possibility of psychic structures that are different from those dominated by the Oedipus complex and the formation of the super-ego. In fact, before the formation of the connection between romantic love and monogamy, before the nuclear family, extended families and kinship structures were dominant and these were integrated into larger social structures.
A "primitive" leader (like Hitler) will cast such a spell over the group that its actions will resemble those of "children" or "primitives," while a more subdued and rational leader (like Roosevelt) will induce milder forms of emotional excess, unfreedom, loss of intellect and creative incapacity. These nuances aside, Freud's central postulate is that all group action reproduces, at the emotional level, the life of the family.  Freud, of course, would apply his analysis to all politics, even liberal politics, whereas some of his followers use the theory only against their enemies.
The relations of an individual to his parents and to his brothers and sisters, to the object of his love, and to his physician--in fact all the relations which have hitherto been the chief subject o psychoanalytic research--may claim to be considered as social phenomena . .  Armed with these basic assumptions Freud is well prepared to develop a theory of group psychology. One finds quickly, however, that such is not the case, that the whole subject of group psychology is distorted by two ideological principles: (1) a liberal one that an individual can be separate from groups, and can be rational only when he is outside the group, and (2) a psychoanalytic one that all human relationships can be reduced to the pattern of the nuclear family and that they never get beyond that pattern.