The Ideology of Hatred: The Psychic Power of Discourse

By Niza Yanay | Go to book overview
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PREFACE

The movement in circular fashion from the individual subject to society is self-evident to me. Psychology and sociology, as I see them, are not two different modes of perception, not even two points of view. The psyche and the social always operate in tandem and form who we are as subjects and who we are as a society (whether we think of ourselves as singular or plural). The psyche cannot be conceived outside the bounds of language, and society, likewise, cannot be understood without taking into account the ways in which we as individuals use language, explicitly or implicitly, expressed or repressed. True, this double image of self and society cannot simply be taken for granted without attending to the paradoxes and theoretical difficulties that such movement entails. Yet what image of society can we form without the subject who speaks (and interacts)? And what subject is free from the power of society and interpellation, able to resist or conform fully to the law of society? And what are the subtexts—the anxieties—of language that constitute the unconscious? These social anxieties (individual and collective) as well as feared desires form the space through which the social, the political, and the psychical speak together in a conundrum.

Take violence, for example. Violence, I argue, must not be seen merely as a behavior, attitude, or emotion, aspects that define violence in most studies. Whether violence is a behavior, an attitude, or an emotion, it also indicates that “something” forbidden or unutterable demands satisfaction or fulfillment. Something has been erased but not lost. I am not saying that the function of violence is to simply create relief through expression, but rather that something unseen and unconscious demands fulfillment and satisfaction and that this something plays an intimate part in most atrociously

-vii-

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