The Anatomy of Hatred
In a world where conflict and violence seem ineradicable, we often speak of hatred and related concepts like antipathy, homophobia, or Anti-Semitism. In Europe, the American-dominated discourse of “hate crime” is currently gaining ground and in the wake of the so-called “Danish cartoon crisis”, hate speech legislation has attracted new attention. Yet, and curiously, the many references to hatred are seldom accompanied by focused and sustained examination of the actual meaning, history and practical or theoretical potentials and limits of the concept. The absence or marginality of elaborations on the concept is evident even in books carrying the term in their titles (e.g. Modern Hatreds, Fires of Hatred, or Harvest of Hatred). How can we think about this fuzzy “thing” called hatred and how does it relate to concepts of love, disgust and enmity? Would a more well-reflected understanding of the “anatomy” of hatred be an asset to current approaches to hate crime, ethnic violence, and reconciliation after genocide? These are among the questions to be explored in this talk on the “anatomy” of hatred.