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May 18, 1940

Beyond the Clinical Frontiers: A Psychiatrist Views Crowd Behavior

JAMA. 1940;114(20):2052. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810200080027

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Abstract

This volume presents the 1939 Salmon Memorial Lectures, the author being thus stamped as a leading psychiatrist. Dr. Strecker, as professor of psychiatry in the University of Pennsylvania, has established an enviable reputation as a sound, clear and progressive practitioner, thinker and writer. His approach to the problem is indicated by the subtitle, "A Psychiatrist Views Crowd Behavior"; that is, he takes psychiatry "beyond the clinical frontiers" and indicates how mental hygiene may develop defenses against the destructive behavior of the mob.

Just as the individual psychotic evades reality by withdrawal, rationalization, projection, aggression, repression, substitution and symbolization, so do we find similar mechanisms at work in various mob and "movement" activities. As symbolization is used by the psychotic for the purpose of psychic economy, so does the leader of the mob depend on the same principle. By means of the symbol exhibited before the mob, the annoyingly small i

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