Melanie Klein, Racism and Psychoanalysis

  • Simon Clarke


Kleinian psychoanalytic theory provides a powerful basis for our understanding of the ubiquitous and visceral elements of racial hatred and discrimination. In this chapter I will outline some of the basic concepts in Kleinian thought and argue that a Kleinian psychodynamic interpretation of racism can complete and build on Freudian theory, providing us with a critical analysis of the social and psychological dynamics in a racist society. It is the communicative aspect of Kleinian psychoanalytic theory which can help explain the ways in which we think of others, feel about others and, crucially, how we make others feel. I begin this chapter with several sections on the major theoretical underpinnings of Klein’s work before going on to start thinking about how we can apply these concepts to racism and ethnic hatred.


Social Theory Projective Identification Object Relation External Reality Internal Reality 


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© Simon Clarke 2003

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  • Simon Clarke

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