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Varvin, S. (1999). Att Ha Rätt. Om Övertygelse, Tolerans Och Fundamentalism. (To be right. About conviction, tolerance and fundamentalism.). Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(2):295-300.

(1999). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 22(2):295-300

Att Ha Rätt. Om Övertygelse, Tolerans Och Fundamentalism. (To be right. About conviction, tolerance and fundamentalism.)

Review by:
Sverre Varvin

Inte Som vi. Psykologiska Aspekter På Främlings Fientlighet Och Rasism. (Not like us. Psychological aspects of xenophobia and racism.) By Tomas Böhm. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1993.

Att Ha Rätt. Om Övertygelse, Tolerans Och Fundamentalism. (To be right. About conviction, tolerance and fundamentalism.) By Tomas Böhm. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1998.

Why do we tend to be hostile towards and even hate strangers? Or why do we need strangers to hate? Why do we tend to think the other person is wrong and not merely presenting another viewpoint? Or why do we need others that are wrong?

Not easy to answer, but nevertheless acutely important questions. Not only for those out there who are racists or fundamentalists, but also for us as ordinary men and women and as psychoanalysts. It has been a surprisingly strong tradition in many political movements, professions and also in psychoanalysis to disregard adherents to other viewpoints or “schools”, to adapt to orthodox and even fundamentalist viewpoints and to solve arguments by appeal to authority.

Tomas Böhm discusses and analyses these and related phenomena in two interesting and very important books. The books are obviously aimed at a broader public, but are not for that reason “light” or easy. The books are comprehensive, cover a broad field of interdisciplinary study and manage to make understandable difficult phenomena we usually handle with resistance.

In both books Böhm alternates between interviews with individuals who have special experience related to the problems analysed (a schoolteacher, a former member of a nazi-organisation, a Muslim, a Jew etc.)

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