IT has often been noted that many social phenomena show a strikingly close correspondence with psychotic processes in individuals. Melitta Schmideberg1 for instance, has pointed to the psy-
chotic content of many primitive ceremonies and rites. And Bion2 has suggested that the emotional life of the group is only understandable in terms of psychotic mechanisms. My own recent experience3 has impressed upon me how much institutions are used by their individual members to reinforce individual mechanisms of defence against anxiety, and in particular against recurrence of the early paranoid and depressive anxieties first described by Melanie Klein.4 In connecting social behaviour with defence against psychotic anxiety, I do not wish in any way to suggest that social relationships serve none other than a defensive function of this kind. Instances of other functions include the equally important expression and gratification of libidinal impulses in constructive social activities, as well as social co-operation in institutions providing creative, sublimatoryopportunities. In the present paper, however, I propose to limit myself to a consideration of certain defensive functions; and in so doing I hope to illustrate and defme how the mechanisms of projective and introjective identification operate in linking individual and social behaviour.