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Tate Angel, V. (2017). Violence, terror, and terrorism today: Psychoanalytic perspectives, Part I. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(3):135-136.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(3):135-136


Violence, terror, and terrorism today: Psychoanalytic perspectives, Part I

Valerie Tate Angel

The selection of timely papers for this monograph issue of the International Forum of Psychoanalysis (Part I) are from plenary sessions of the XIXth International Forum of Psychoanalysis, held in New York City, on May 12–15, 2016, and entitled “Violence, Terror, and Terrorism Today: Psychoanalytic Perspectives.” An international group of psychoanalysts encompassing diverse theoretical perspectives gathered together to address the global problem of terrorism presently impacting our work as psychoanalysts in the consulting room and in the community.

Many questions were raised during the course of this rich exchange of ideas. Is it the social responsibility of psychoanalysts to add their knowledge to the ongoing efforts to contain and ameliorate the violent terrorist acts that threaten and destabilize our society? What goes on in the mind of the terrorist and what has happened to civility (Angel, 2017)? What does a terrorist’s aggressive behavior conceal besides reactions to social marginalization, deprivation, and frustration? What is the difference between violent criminal acts and acts of terrorism? Why is there no recognition of otherness?

James Gilligan views the rejection of the concept of difference between self and other as a precursor to fear and intimidation, a tactical position used in the advancement of terrorism. There is no acceptance of “otherness,” Gilligan informs us, when there is distortion in thinking, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of pride.

[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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