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Undoing the Clinch of Oppression

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Prof. Philip Lichtenberg

The author shows in this book that the social division of labor in handling emotions creates and maintains oppression - inside the family, as in child abuse, and in the larger social scene, as at work or inside social movements. He argues that the struggle against oppression is more likely to succeed if it is informed by group practices that enable handling these emotions better. Relying on concepts of identification with the aggressor, projection upon a primed vulnerable other, and the delusion of fusion, the author describes processes by which oppression is installed and how social groups may use clinically-derived understandings to create new ways for managing commonly seen guilt, self-hatred, rage, and anxiety. The work engages the unity of private inner life with participation in communal endeavors, the personal in the political.