Skip to main content

Hate: On the Power of the Negative


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenors: Ben Gidley, Ian Sanjay Patel
  • Assessment: a 1000-word annotated bibliography (50%) and 2000-word psychosocial analysis of an event (50%)

Module description

This core module is undertaken after the introductory module, Love, at the beginning of the BA Psychosocial Studies, and is followed by the modules Power and Bodies. Taken together, the four modules (Love, Hate, Bodies, Power) introduce you to the key themes and theories in psychosocial studies.

This module introduces you to the meanings and role of hate and negativity, understood through the lens of the psychosocial. This means studying such concepts as affect and psychic process via psychoanalysis, as well as investigating their meaning in the realm of the political, social and cultural as revealed in hate crimes, violence, revenge, notions of evil, and the structures of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. Investigating ‘hate’ therefore allows for an interdisciplinary study of how this term has been understood, the different ways in which its meanings have been constructed, and the ways in which negativity is acted out and manifested in social and political life.

Indicative module content

  • Hate in Biblical texts and Greek myth (eg Medea, the Oresteia)
  • Hate in psychoanalysis: concepts of the negative in Freud and Klein
  • Hate in family formations: sibling hatred (Juliet Mitchell) and envy, matricide and patricide (psychoanalytic and literary and cinematic texts)
  • Hate and creativity (Marion Milner, Louise Bourgeoise, Christopher Bollas)
  • Hate, sexuality and sexual difference: misogyny and homophobia  (feminist and queer theory)
  • Hate and the social: violence towards, and hatred of, Otherness, and Totalitarianism (eg the work of Hannah Arendt, Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, Emmanuel Levinas, Luce Irigaray, Franz Fanon)
  • Hate crimes: violence and acting out
  • Hate and antisemitism (eg the work Hannah Arendt and Primo Levi)
  • Hate in the cinema: for example, La Haine (Kassovitz 1995)
  • Hate and the media: demonising and surveillance culture

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a strong grasp of the role of and meanings of hate and the negative in western thought
  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of key theoretical texts dealing with this subject
  • relate this theoretical knowledge to social and political realities and to the field of psychic life and representation.