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Varvin, S. (2005). Humiliation and the victim identity in conditions of political and violent conflict. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 28(1):40-49.

(2005). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 28(1):40-49

Humiliation and the victim identity in conditions of political and violent conflict

Sverre Varvin, M.D., Phil.

The humiliation and traumatization of political opponents during periods of violent and non-violent conflict can create deadlocked situations with great potential for regression, and may serve to aggravate the conflict or escalate the level of violence. In this article, I will examine this type of regressive dynamic. My point of departure is the current terror situation and the “war against terror” as it is being conducted in different parts of the world. The key concepts in this connection are violations of human rights, victim psychology, group processes and the development of regressive group identities. Political-ideological-religious discourses can serve to mediate between collective unconscious fantasies and the actual misery/humiliation experienced at group and individual levels. They can reinforce an identity as victim, and the significance of this identity is often underestimated when the background of terror and violent conflicts is being analysed.

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