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Disorders of the collective mental state


Bostock, WW and Bostock, EC, Disorders of the collective mental state, Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy, 7, (6) pp. 1-3. ISSN 2161-0487 (2017) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]


Copyright Statement

2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.4172/2161-0487.1000331


In 1997, after the death of Princess Diana, the British popular press declared that Britain was having a "collective nervous breakdown". This paper considers whether it is possible to assert that a collective mental state could exist, such that it could have a "breakdown" (to use a non-technical term). In reality, the concept of the collective mental state has a long history, but it also has a well-known critique called Methodological Individualism, where thoughts and actions can only be attributed to individuals. If the concept of the collective mental state is valid, then it is possible to argue that the normal functioning of a group, community, or whole society, that is, a collectivity, can be disrupted by contagion, and that it can be said to be disordered. Some of the common large-scale disorders that have been recognised are depression, fear, aggression, desensitization and acceptance of genocide. Thus, the concept of the collective mental state can provide a valuable transdisciplinary vehicle for the investigation of some of the great issues confronting humankind.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:sociology, social alienation, shared paranoid disorder
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bostock, WW (Dr William Bostock)
UTAS Author:Bostock, EC (Dr Emmanuelle Bostock)
ID Code:123751
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-01-24
Last Modified:2018-12-13
Downloads:75 View Download Statistics

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