Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: PEP-Web Archive subscribers can access past articles and books…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you are a PEP-Web Archive subscriber, you have access to all journal articles and books, except for articles published within the last three years, with a few exceptions.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Friedman, L. (2005). Rejoinder. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(4):963-967.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(4):963-967

Rejoinder Related Papers

Lawrence Friedman

Twemlow wonders how the psychoanalytic study of terrorism could be controversial. The answer will be found in his own essay, beginning with his first sentence. If there is anything more controversial than a scientist who discovers not just psychodynamics but also psychopathology in other people's political acts, it is a scientist who takes the mental illness of a political movement as the subject of an enquiry, rather than its conclusion.

How is that objection handled here? By changing the topic. In Twemlow's four-point prospectus, the target is no longer a political act. It is no longer any particular kind of act—it is, indeed, no longer anything at all: Twemlow tells us that terrorism is whatever a group or epoch chooses to call terrorism. Doubters will say that Twemlow has set up the perfect study for psychoanalytic social enquiry— a pathological diagnosis with no particular patient to contradict it. Evidence can be whatever the investigator knows something about, and whatever argues for the desired attitudinal ‘treatment’.

Obviously, Twemlow has a more particular subject in the back of his mind, since he considers terrorism a pejorative, used only against one's enemies. He is thinking of the usage of the moment, where the term ‘terrorism’ makes and breaks military alliances. But this specific meaning (which is what provides topical relevance) does not actually anchor Twemlow's enquiry, since he also refers to situations where terrorism is not despised, such as the French Revolution, and thus presumably also other proud terrorisms, such as that of Lenin, Himmler, Genghis Khan and Attila.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.