Customer Review

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A skilled psychoanalysis of national identity and foreigness, 12 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Strangers to Ourselves (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism) (Paperback)
In this book Kristeva outlines our fear and distaste for the stranger. Following on from her previous work in Powers of Horror, among others, she demonstrates how the foreigner evokes a powerful dislike among us by appearing to be the same while actually displaying a curious, and undefinable difference. She clearly expresses the concept that human groups are identified and bolstered more by who is not included than by who is. By drawing on Freud's ideas of the uncanny and the unconscious she shows that the foreigner actually highlights the curious differences that exist within us all. It is these differences, created by our unconscious mind, that we fear and that cause us to form exclusive groups. These groups aim to conceal individual differences of their members by highlighting the strangeness of outsiders. It is only by coming to terms with our individual strangeness, our unconscious, that we can come to terms with, and truly accept, foreigners. It is only through this process that the human race can unite in a spirit of brotherly love. Kristeva accomplishes marvelous things here. In a short trip through history she illustrates the development of human groups and their damaging potential. She applies advanced psychological and social theory in a novel, but clever way, to a major problem facing the modern world and comes up with her own, unique, solution.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Sep 2012 04:58:35 BDT
M. N. says:
You should've written the 'blurb' on the back of the book. Tres bien.

Posted on 20 Aug 2013 23:42:10 BDT
Kristeva's idea of the internal stranger, the unacknowledged and rejected part of one's consciousness, that is projected on to others was anticipated by Jung in his discussion of the shadow.
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