Narcissism—named after the fictional Narcissus who was punished by the gods for spurning the advances of a forest nymph, and who was thus doomed to only love his own reflection—is a personality trait characterized by extreme self-centeredness and self-regard.
Someone who is obsessed with their own appearance, own needs, own well-being over those of others (and even at the expense of others) may be called a narcissist, either pathologically or colloquially: the former generally considered a personality disorder, the latter a judgement or insult based on someone’s behavior.
This collection can be defined by their skin color, social class, religion, interpretation of that religion, political beliefs, behaviors, nationality, cultural mores or values, level of education, where they were educated, heritage, the way they speak, the products they buy, or anything else we might use to draw invisible lines between people and batch them into tribes.
This theory posits that a group can become narcissistic in its behaviors and beliefs, but rather than this narcissism being the product of a deeply held sense of in-group superiority it's actually a more defensive sort of assumption that the group (and by extension the people in the group) have unfulfilled potential and by gathering together and fulfilling their destiny (whatever that destiny may be) their specialness will finally be recognized and rewarded.
The main difference between assumed group supremacy and group narcissism then is that the former will try to be dominant because they believe they should be, while the latter will try to be dominant because they feel they must in order to finally be respected as the superior people they’ve always suspected (but have never been treated as if) they are.
This need for external validation can make narcissistic groups a lot more volatile than supremacist groups, in the same way individual narcissists can become petty and vindictive when they don't feel their self-defined grandness and specialness is being sufficiently recognized and celebrated: they can lash out, plot revenge, and become increasingly more neurotic and distrustful of anyone who is not part of their in-group.
Like individual narcissism, collective narcissism is an imperfect term useful mostly for labeling broad traits and explaining certain group dynamics; it's not a black and white categorization method, nor is it a clean-cut model that allows for the psychoanalysis of an organization.
It does provide us with an interesting framework for modeling group behaviors, however, both intergroup and intragroup: how tribes engage with other tribes and how members of tribes engage with each other.
It also helps explicate some of the internal mythologies that emerge within such groups and which often serve to reinforce in-group unity, rally members around their leaders and causes, demonize perceived enemies, and justify behaviors that individual members might—in other contexts—consider to be not okay.
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