Racial Hatred and Unmourned Loss
This paper explores the way in which Freud's theory of melancholia is being used within sociological theory to explain racial hatred in Britain. The paper critically interrogates the work of Paul Gilroy before engaging with the works of Eric Fromm, Richard Sennett, as well as Freud and Klein's classic psychoanalytic formulations. Using two biographical case studies drawn from original empirical research on racial harassment perpetrators the paper argues that while racial hatred is often melancholic in nature, the losses at the heart of the racist's malaise tend to be only tangentially connected to empire and its crimes. More commonly, the losses that underpin hatred are irreducibly personal and class based, and hence multilayered, losses of love and security, for example, aggravating the pain of losses of respect and community, and vice versa. The paper concludes by drawing attention to the dangerously racialized kinds of imagined community losses of this kind tend to furnish, and the difficulties of providing recognition to those most afflicted by them.
Volume (Year): 15 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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