Authors
Thomas Szanto
University of Copenhagen
Abstract
In the past few years, social and cultural theorists have pointed to the dynamic and performative character of forms of disparagement such as public shaming, humiliation, invective or hate speech. In this paper, I endorse a different route and focus on the distinctive affective and dialectical nature of what might be called the ‘politics of disparagement’. I will do so by elaborating on the affective intentionality of hatred, which can be seen as an affective attitude that paradigmatically encapsulates the dialectical antagonism at play in the politics of disparagement. I argue that the affective intentionality of hatred is distinctive in three interrelated ways: First, it has an overgeneralising, indeterminate affective focus, which typically leads to a certain collectivisation of its target. Secondly, short of a determinate affective focus, haters derive the indeed extreme affective powers of the attitude not in reaction to any specific features or actions of the targets or from some phenomenological properties of the attitude but, rather, from the sheer commitment to the attitude itself. Finally, in sharing this commitment to hate with others, hatred involves a certain negative dialectics and becomes entrenched as a shared habitus. Ultimately, I suggest that we can only counteract the politics of disparagement if we understand how a shared commitment to disparagement and hatred establishes its own normative logic, which not only concerns their victims but also, dialectically, sanctions their enactors.
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DOI 10.1515/dzph-2021-0035
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Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.Kate Manne - 2017 - Oxford University Press.

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