Our entire lives involve belonging to groups: small groups, such as friendships, clubs, sports teams; large groups, such has political parties, ethnic groups, nations, religions. But what is a group? A bunch of people waiting for the bus or travelling on the same airplane certainly arent groups. A group is a living organism, that emerges and develops following precise structural processes, with norms, roles and complex internal dynamics, including cohesion and conflict, uniformity and division. Remaining together is not an innate ability, but rather a skill that is built up during long and demanding experiences, that involves both benefits and costs. In order to become experts - the author warns - one must also discover "antidotes" to defend ones self from unavoidable "side effects".
Giuseppina Speltini teaches Group Psychology and Social Psychology at the University of Bologna.