Respect, Plurality, and Prejudice: A Psychoanalytical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Dynamics of Social Exclusion and Discrimination

Author(s) : Lene Auestad

Respect, Plurality, and Prejudice: A Psychoanalytical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Dynamics of Social Exclusion and Discrimination

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : February 2015
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 384
  • Category :
    Psychotherapy and Politics
  • Category 2 :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 35283
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782201397
  • ISBN 10 : 1782201394
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This book helps us understand the current resurgence of social prejudice against ethnic minority groups, the logics of scapegoating and the resulting violence.

Our time is characterised by a growth in expressed hostility and violence towards people who are perceived as 'others'. Hatred towards and discrimination against minorities is on the rise. This book presents a new understanding of prejudice, racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, islamophobia, sexism and homophobia. It combines philosophy with psychoanalytic thinking, sociology and psycho-social studies, analysing the unconscious elements of social processes.

The author makes a case for framing a questioning of prejudice, not in terms of normality versus pathology or deviance, but in what is socially unconscious. Hypocrisy and double standards are inherent in our social practices, reflecting the contradictions present in our thinking about these issues: that we both believe and do not believe in equality. Thus this study takes account of conflicts between theory and practice, layers of implicit- and explicitness, pre- and unconscious experience and the power differentials that shape these constellations.

There is no neutral point of view from which prejudice can be addressed. The chapters in this study approach the problem of how to understand prejudice from different angles, aiming at ways of enabling listening to voices that are rarely heard. It questions how to reshape society so as to make room for people who appear to embody so-called contemptible qualities – for extension of respect across differences and inequalities.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘The sophisticated mix of examining prejudice refracted through the lenses of philosophy, social theory and psychoanalysis makes this book so important for our times. Whilst tackling a dark subject, it provides hope in thinking about the experiences of mutuality and respect between the Self and the Other.’
— Dr Jonathan Sklar, Training Analyst, British Psychoanalytical Society

‘Lene Auestad’s book offers a penetrating analysis of the mechanisms – often unconscious – at work in various cases of prejudice in contemporary society. Ranging from the individual as well as collective dynamics of racism to the debate over freedom of speech, the book demonstrates the usefulness of drawing on psychoanalytic insights in order to understand the deeper layers of the aggression against stigmatised “others” in today’s Europe.’
— Professor Arne Johan Vetlesen, Department of Philosophy, University of Oslo and author of Evil and Human Agency

‘With great intellectual rigour and audacity, Lene Auestad offers a politically engaged analysis of the complexities of the experience of prejudice. Navigating through phenomenological, psychoanalytical, and sociological accounts, Respect, Plurality, and Prejudice connects the subjective with the political and the social with the unconscious. Critiquing contemporary forms of racism and violence and facing the ethical challenges that derive from the theorising of “being among others”, this book is a wonderful and necessary addition to the emerging field of Psychosocial Studies.’
— Dr Margarita Palacios, Senior Lecturer, Psychososcial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

‘Lene Auestad’s work is an eminently important scholarly contribution to the understanding of prejudice, hate speech, discrimination, and social exclusion – phenomena that challenge and threaten democracies in Europe, “old” and “new”. Investigating prejudice and related problems, she combines philosophical, sociological, and social psychological enquiry with psychoanalytic reflections. She applies the ideas of Sigmund Freud, Sándor Ferenczi, Michael Balint, and of the object relational school to examining prejudice and other social phenomena in a highly original and productive way. She integrates these approaches in the framework of psycho-social studies. This excellent book should be read by all social scientists, psychoanalysts, and psychologists who are obliged to fight against prejudice and racism – in practice as well as in theory.’
— Professor Ferenc Eros, Department of Social Psychology, University of Pecs

About the Author(s)

Lene Auestad, PhD, is Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Oslo, and affiliated with the Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, Oslo. She moved to the UK to pursue long-standing interests in British psychoanalysis. Working at the interface of psychoanalytic thinking and ethics/political theory, her writing has focused on the themes of emotions, prejudice and minority rights. She is the author of Respect, Plurality, and Prejudice: A Psychoanalytical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Dynamics of Social Exclusion and Discrimination, and Psychoanalysis and Politics: Exclusion and the Politics of Representation, as well as a number of articles, including 'To Think or Not To Think', in the Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences, and 'Splitting, Attachment and Instrumental Rationality', in Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society.

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