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The Sociologist's EyeReflections on Social Life$
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Kai Erikson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106671

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106671.001.0001

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Becoming a People

Becoming a People

Chapter:
(p.320) Becoming a People
Source:
The Sociologist's Eye
Author(s):

Kai Erikson

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300106671.003.0016

This chapter focuses on pseudospeciation, the process by which we come to view other persons who we know to be fellow human beings as if they were so unlike us in form or thought or spirit that they can be treated as though they are of a different order of being altogether. The chapter starts by considering the origins of war and fighting from a sociological perspective, with particular emphasis on feelings of difference and otherness—even of hostility and antipathy—that lie at the heart of what is generally meant by nationalism. It then examines how the process of becoming a people is linked to the idea of nations before explaining the concept of social speciation and how it differs from genetic speciation. It concludes by proposing a few minor changes to the notion of pseudospeciation, offering it as a contribution to sociology, anthropology, and psychoanalysis.

Keywords:   pseudospeciation, war, otherness, nationalism, nations, social speciation, sociology, anthropology, psychoanalysis

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