Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To see author affiliation information in an article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To see author affiliation and contact information (as available) in an article, simply click on the Information icon next to the author’s name in every journal article.

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

Gullestad, S.E. (2017). Anders Behring Breivik, master of life and death: Psychodynamics and political ideology in an act of terrorism. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(4):207-216.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(4):207-216

Anders Behring Breivik, master of life and death: Psychodynamics and political ideology in an act of terrorism

Siri Erika Gullestad

According to Anders Behring Breivik himself, his massacre of 77 innocent people on July 22, 2011 in Norway was motivated by ideology: Breivik sees himself as being morally justified to save Europe from multiculturalism and feminism. What makes a person join such an ideology? This paper argues that the demonization of Muslims and Eurabia fits into a psychologically threatened universe and a murderous lust for revenge. Against the background of different sources (the ideological “manifesto,” forensic reports, psychiatric assessment of the mother–son relationship in Breivik’s childhood, and interview material), the mass-murderer’s attitudes are understood as expressing inner dynamic forces. Hypotheses about Breivik’s personality and unconscious motivation are discussed using the concepts of splitting and personal myth and Oedipal catastrophe. The paper argues that the relationship between unconscious motives and ideology must be regarded as dialectical: the terrorist’s actions are founded in a subjective war scenario, expressing personally motivated hatred and vindictiveness, being displaced and projected, and justified with reference to a war “out there.” Thus, the terrorist seeks an ideology that fits unconscious intentions. The ideology, however, is indispensable to legitimate actions.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, 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.