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Jefferson, S.A. (2010). Editorial: Prejudice. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 7(4):339-340.

(2010). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 7(4):339-340

Book Reviews and Commentary

Editorial: Prejudice

Review by:
Salman Akhtar Jefferson

In earlier publications (Akhtar, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007), I have delineated the etiology, phenomenology, and certain specific instances of prejudice. Holding the customary definition of prejudice (i.e. adverse judgement about others before knowing the facts) to be outdated and insufficient, I have asserted that prejudice is best defined as an erroneous positive or negative assessment of self and others that results not from ignorance of facts but by active jettisoning of knowledge that is readily available. In tracing the “progression” of prejudice from the simple-minded provincialism and un-mentalized xenophobia through ethnoracial contempt to communal violence and genocide, I have emphasized the mutually reinforcing role of intrapsychic and societal factors. At each step of the way, the forces of mind and society seem operative in a dialectics of fuelling the fire.

It is in this context that our book review section features Ron Aviram's recent book on the relational and group context of prejudice. Aviram's thesis that a regressive hypertrophy of an individual's group self at the cost of his or her individual self (with the latter's intact critical abilities) is an important dynamic in the intensification of ordinary biases to the extent of their becoming a prejudice is a point well taken. His elucidation of the hypothesis is intriguing and bring psychoanalytic thinking and anthropological observations in an interesting, harmonious gestalt.

Two reviews of Aviram's book represented here.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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