The Meaning of Hatred As Narrative: Two Versions of an Experience

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Abstract The multivocality of hatred is revealed through the analysis of a journal entry portraying a complicated emotional relationship between a young woman, a 6-year-old girl, and the girl's mother. Two competing readings of hatred are presented, revealing the different narrative positions from which the subject speaks. One is a psychoanalytic discourse, tracing the intrapsy-chic, object-related hurts that were reactivated from the past and projected in present experiences. The other is a constructionist reading, which focuses on conflicts over values and ideas, suggesting a communicative theory of ha-tred. It is concluded that these different voices are not hierarchical, but rather alternately dominate the text, depending on the position of the speaker and the context. The meaning of hatred is thus revealed as neither unified nor univocal. Rather, the narrative perspective mediates between childhood hurts and normative and ethical reason. It constructs two stories, both of which illustrate similar (but not identical) plots of suffering, mis-recognition, and dependency. (Social Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Construc-tionism, Emotions)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-368
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Narrative and Life History
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995


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