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Antagonism, social critique and the ‘violent reverie’

Hook, Derek (2014) Antagonism, social critique and the ‘violent reverie’. Psychology in Society (PINS), 46. pp. 21-34. ISSN 1015-6046

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This paper opens up a series of windows on racialised life in past and present South Africa as a way arguing for the value of antagonism as a mode of critical enquiry. Sampling a cross-section of recent writing on South African race politics, the paper calls attention both to strident critiques of white privilege, and to concerns over allegedly anti-white populism. Chabani Manganyi’s notion of the violent reverie is used to argue that such oppositional critique affords a crucial expressive modality which –perhaps unexpectedly – lessens the subjective (self-directed) violence of the historically oppressed and decreases rather than increases the possibility of objective violence between oppressor and oppressed. The paper also draws on a series of philosophical, psychoanalytic and political motifs – the ideas of ‘no hope’, Lacanian concept of the imaginary, and Mngxitama’s notion of the failure of interracial dialogue - as a means of drawing attention to the readiness with which we often succumb to comforting social myths.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 12:21
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 00:13

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