Putnam’s Paradox: Diversity, Destruction of Community, and Anti-Oedipal Psychology

  • Howard S. Schwartz


The distinguished political scientist Robert Putnam found that increased diversity was associated, except in the case of political activity, with the decline of social capital. I propose that it was not diversity, as such, that led to this decline, but the identity politics associated with it. This politics is discussed in terms of the anti-Oedipal dynamics of political correctness and the normalization of the pristine self. The development of social capital depends on common understandings and mutual assumptions, which are felt as antagonistic to the pristine self. This idea is elaborated through an analysis of the concept of microaggression.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bolt, Robert. 1962. A Man for All Seasons. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  2. BuzzFeed. 2014. 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis.
  3. Freud, Sigmund. 1911. Psychoanalytic Notes on and Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides), Standard edn., vol. 12. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, Sigmund. 1917. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  5. Freud, Sigmund. 1922b. Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy. Paranoia and Homosexuality. The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  6. Gibbon, Edward. 1909. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. 1. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  7. Goldsmith, William. 2006. Prof. Disputes Paper’s Portrayal. Harvard Crimson, October 26.Google Scholar
  8. Lacan, Jacques. 1993. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955–56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, p. 268.Google Scholar
  9. Lloyd, John. 2006. Study Paints Bleak Picture of Ethnic Diversity. Financial Times, October 6.Google Scholar
  10. Martin, Michel. 2007. Political Scientist: Does Diversity Really Work? Tell Me More. National Public Radio, August 15.Google Scholar
  11. Microaggressions. 2014. Power, Privilege and Everyday Life.
  12. Putnam, Robert D. 2007. E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-First Century. The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies 30(2): 137–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Richwine, Jason. 2009. A Smart Solution to the Diversity Dilemma. The American: The Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, August 12.
  14. Sue, Derald Wing. 2010. Microaggression in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Sue, Derald Wing, and David P. Rivera. 2010. Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life. Is Subtle Bias Harmless. Psychology Today.
  16. Vega, Tanzina. 2014. Students See Many Slights as Racial “Microaggressions”. New York Times, March 21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2016

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard S. Schwartz
    • 1
  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of Organizational BehaviorOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations