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Gestalt Theory

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Is Hatred a Major Factor Determining the Contemporary Social Imaginary? / Ist der Hass ein bestimmender Faktor des gegenwärtigen sozialen Imaginären?

Andrzej Leder
Published Online: 2017-12-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gth-2017-0021


In my paper, I analyze hate as one of the important factors that influence and structuralize the symbolic sphere. In the first step, I define the notion of “symbolic sphere”. Then, I analyze hate from the phenomenological and psychoanalytical points of view. My next step is a historical digression, concerning the place of hate in the social order. Next, I describe some important phenomena of the contemporary societies conditioned by the influence of hatred. Finally, I investigate which notions of the social theory are adequate to describe this kind of phenomena. Hate has been most frequently apprehended as a sudden eruption of bare violence. It was supposed to transform the symbolic sphere through sharp, directly aggressive, and often unexpected actions. Nevertheless, in societies wherein the symbolic legitimization of the political and social order was established as the consequence of the Second World War, a deep change in the attitude toward the bare and direct expression of violence took place. Acts of hate in the public sphere became morally delegitimized and symbolically repressed. We should ask then: if the bare violence and the hate determining this violence disappeared from the sphere of social praxis, although they still shape the social imaginary, how are they really founded? Thus, to answer these questions, I will have to ask not about the direct impact of hatred, but about its hidden influence.

Keywords : Giorgio Agamben; Walter Benjamin; Marcel Gauchet; hatred; Martin Heidegger; Jean-Paul Sartre; social imaginaries; symbolic sphere; Slavoj Žižek


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-12-21

Published in Print: 2017-11-27

Citation Information: Gestalt Theory, Volume 39, Issue 2-3, Pages 303–312, ISSN (Online) 2519-5808, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gth-2017-0021.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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