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Psychology in Society

On-line version ISSN 2309-8708
Print version ISSN 1015-6046


HOOK, Derek. Antagonism, social critique and the "violent reverie". Psychol. Soc. [online]. 2014, n.46, pp.21-34. ISSN 2309-8708.

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 ofcritical 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", the 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.

Keywords : antagonism; anti-white populism; Manganyi; racialization; violent reverie; white privilege.

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