«Two Brotherless Peoples»: On the Constitutive Traumas of Class Struggle

by Akis Gavriilidis

Published in Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society (2008) 13, 143–162.




In this article, I use as a starting point a “social symptom” showing that Greek left patriots have mixed feelings towards Jews, whom they perceive as a threat but also as a model for imitation, on account of their universally accepted victim status. I consider that these feelings are linked to a specific subjectivity formation, which I term “radical nationalism” and I attribute to the specificities of 20th century Greek history: to the civil war during the 1940s, and the subsequent handling –or non handling– of the painful memories from this split in the national subject. Accordingly, in the first part I go through the genealogy of this subjectivity formation and its affective economy; but also, departing from this specific historical example, I try to draw some more general conclusions about social antagonism and the nature of the traumas in which it results–or really, in which it consists. Then, in the last part, I go back to a corpus of social discursive material –declarations, articles in newspapers, public rallies– and try to show how these illustrate my construction and in what sense they can be construed as efforts to suture the chasm of social antagonism.


Key words: nationalism; social groups; trauma; self-victimisation; enjoyment Συνέχεια