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    On sacredness and transgression: understanding social antagonism

    Palacios, Margarita (2004) On sacredness and transgression: understanding social antagonism. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 9 (3), pp. 284-297. ISSN 1088-0763.

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    In this paper, I argue that in order to theorize violence it is necessary to consider not only the “contingent/historical” character of particular expressions of violence, but also the more “permanent/meta-historical” character of social identities. That is, it is necessary not only to look at identities already constituted, but at the very process of constitution of social identities itself. Only then it is possible to see the schism that is inherent to every social identity. This schism between the particular (the empirical) and the universal (the transcendental moral horizon, which allows the articulation of social life) is what accounts for both freedom/social change and social antagonism. Social antagonism, expressed as social exclusion and violence, is a reaction to the fear of “social disintegration”; that is, the fear of the possibility of losing the “universal/moral horizon” that makes society possible. Further, I argue that violence expresses a paradoxical dynamic between morality and enjoyment. At the same time that it attempts to restore the threatened symbolic order (that makes society possible), violence constitutes the ultimate transgression of that symbolic order.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): social theory, law, violence, social antagonism, identity, fantasy
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 15:00
    Last Modified: 11 Sep 2017 15:00


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