Functional Religion

as a

Social Defence Mechanism

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Presented by David Wasdell

A paper delivered to the Religious Research Group of the Social Research Association on 18th June, 1980. It is an attempt at a comprehensive statement of a post-Kleinian, primal understanding of anxiety defences and their functioning in social systems, with particular reference to the work of Bruce Reed and the functioning of religious systems as agencies of social control. The second part of the paper examines some of the current processes of the breakdown of social defences and looks positively at the choices facing us between holistic integration or increasingly violent oppression and repression. [1980]