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Cotti, P. (2015). Deconstructing Persecution and Betrayal in the Discourse of Anders Behring Breivik: A Preliminary Essay. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(4):1041-1068.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(4):1041-1068

Deconstructing Persecution and Betrayal in the Discourse of Anders Behring Breivik: A Preliminary Essay Language Translation

Patricia Cotti

(Accepted for publication 9 July 2014)

On 22 July 2011, a 32 year-old Norwegian launched two planned murderous rampages claiming the lives of 77 victims. Shortly before his attacks, Anders Behring Breivik uploaded to the internet a self-styled compendium written in English in which he explained the motivation for his attacks. By deconstructing this text and the documentation contained in the first [court-ordered] psychiatric evaluation of Breivik, we can undertake to analyse his sense of persecution. In pursing this analysis, we start with Breivik's description of his personal concept of contemporary European history and politics, and then proceed to the autobiographical and phantasmic aspects of his discourse. The analysis reveals the transformation of love into hate, the original persecutor, the installation of a projection mechanism, notions of betrayal and their subsequent development into an ideology. With Breivik's conceptions thus revealed, we conclude by comparing different psychoanalytic hypotheses which deepen or challenge the Freudian thesis of a defence against a feeling of homosexual love in persecution, and which to the contrary favour the importance of the relationship with the mother, anal sadism or the ‘narcissistic rage’ behind the genesis of these ideas. We leave open the question of whether there is a constant relationship between feelings of persecution and the tendency to commit criminal acts.

[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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