CFS Workshop: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on We-Intentionality


Christian Borch, Copenhagen Business School, DK

Fabio Sani, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK


14:15-14:20 Introduction
14:20-15:20 Christian Borch: 'Crowd Theory and Collective Suggestibility'

15:20-15:40 Coffee Break

15:40-16:40 Fabio Sani: 'Group Identification and Depression'
16:40-17:00 Concluding remarks


Christian Borch, Crowd Theory and Collective Suggestibility: Classical crowd theory as developed under the label of crowd psychology in France in the late nineteenth century came under heavy fire by sociologists and psychologists throughout the twentieth century. Especially the notion that crowds embody irrational, de-individualizing forces of suggestibility that pose a threat to civilizational progress was contested by sociologists who argued for the opposite view: that crowds are made up of rational individuals responding to unjust conditions. In this talk I wish to revisit classical crowd theory (especially the work of Gabriel Tarde) and argue that it deserves renewed attention, as it offers a rich and timely analytical repertoire for understanding subjectivity and sociality in a non-individualist manner.

Fabio Sani, Group Identification and Depression: Researchers agree that what makes us human is not only our intelligence but also, and perhaps even more importantly, our ultra-sociality: Humans have evolved to live cooperatively in social groups. As a consequence, we may speculate that group membership is a necessary condition for mental health. However, I will argue that, for a specific group to be beneficial to a person’s mental health, this person must develop a subjective sense of group identification. In addition, I will argue that the greater the number of social groups one identifies with, the lower the odds of being depressed. To support this claim, I will present evidence stemming from a number of studies, including a study of a large community sample in Scotland. I will conclude with a discussion of the implications of my findings for the treatment of depression.