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on 12 June 2001
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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