Socioanalysis Journal, Vol. 15, December 2013


Group Relations Australia

SKU: GRA1930318537


It is a great pleasure to have been invited to edit this Special Issue on Social Media and Society. The infiltration of communicative media into everyday life, and across the world, has occurred with astonishing rapidity and acceptance. We are witnessing phenomena of human interaction on a scale never before seen in recorded history. The advent of social media is providing us with new vehicles for human enterprise and engagement: from mobilising participation in social action, such as the Occupy movement, to mass communication of individual thoughts and feelings through technologies such as Twitter and Facebook. As our use of these technologies deepens and matures, it is timely to explore their effects upon conscious and unconscious processes in society.

This Special Issue contains papers looking at the phenomena of social media from several angles. It includes both peer-reviewed papers and the transcripts of an open seminar on ‘Facebook and Unconscious Perception of Leadership’ held by Group Relations Australia on 19 August 2013. The lecture and discussant’s response presented at that seminar by Triest and Toder-Goldin were so very relevant to this Special Issue that it was agreed to publish them as Discussion Papers. I am delighted too that in this issue we are able to publish a book review by Susan Long of Aaron Balick’s book The Psychodynamics of Social Networking, published by Karnac only a few weeks ago.

The issue begins with a paper by Green and Biernbaum who reflect on the dynamics in groups using social media and how we can understand the emergence of authority and leadership in virtual space. Their analysis links with the discussion by Triest on the disruption to the relations between leader and led generated by social media technologies and a new emerging representation of leadership experienced in the crowd. Patman and Boxer respectively take a closer look at the meaning of these social networking technologies and communicative media. Drawing on Marshall McLuhan’s theories, Patman suggests an approach for how socioanalytic practice can begin to engage with new technologies. Boxer observes that the large scale social disruption associated with social networking technologies also offers new possibilities for creative responses to anxieties in working relationships: the relations between ‘above’ and ‘below’ the surface, and ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the organisation are open for reworking through. Reflexivity is a key element in this process, which is taken up by Dent in a personal exploration of experiences of simultaneous participation in an online and a face-to- face social dreaming matrices. Dent proposes that psychological presence is distinctly different in each with the heightened potential to split parts of oneself across two systems that engage different sensory experiences, and structures of time and place. Finally, Sher provides us with an intriguing and detailed view into another kind of social media phenomenon: the Occupy movement in London. During these events staff of the Tavistock Institute offered a daily social dreaming event. Social media technologies played a role in the event, but we can also think about a method that includes dream sharing on the internet and about the viral fantasies a globally connected world can engender.

I thank Prof. Susan Long for her guidance in my taking up the role of Special issue Editor, and to Dr Joy Humphreys and Dr Ora Bernard for their collaboration in putting this issue together.


Jinette de Gooijer
Special Issue Editor





Zachary Gabriel Green and Stephanie Biernbaum

Virtual Authority.

David Patman

Socioanalysis and the Electronic Matrix

Philip Boxer

Managing the Risks of Social Disruption: What Can We Learn from the Ipact of Social Networking Software?

Nuala Dent

Towards Reflexivity: Online and 'In-the-Room'

Mannie Sher

A Tale of One City: Social Dreaming and the Social Protest Movement - Occupy London at Tent City





Joseph Triest

The 'Faceless Mother': Facebook and the Unconscious Perception of Leadership

Micky Toder-Goldin

Discussant's response: The Paradoxical Face of the Postmodern Authority


Book Reviews:



Susan Long

Review of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: Connected-up Instantaneous Culture and the Self by Aaron Balick