ISSN: 2038-0925

Introduzione n. 45 – marzo 2021

di Laura FOTIA

Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea, N. 45, 1|2021

"." by marina guimarães on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)





On Hate and the Enemy, from the 20th century to today: a global view


Human beings are inclined to cooperate, rather than compete, with each other, and it is the History of Mankind that demonstrates it; in a nutshell, this is the message that can be extracted from the ground-breaking volume by Rutger Bregman De meeste mensen deugen. Een nieuwe geschiedenis van de mens, published in 2019 [1]. Bregman’s work consists of a reconstruction of the last 200.000 years of the history of mankind, which is based on a series of recent anthropological, biological, archaeological, psychological and sociological discoveries and studies. Essentially, the author believes that this accumulated knowledge contributes to validate the idea that men and women are naturally inclined to love each other. According to this perspective, periods of crisis – social, economic, political – prompt the emergence not only of a tendency to oppress, but rather a tendency toward solidarity and mutual support between human beings.

This is certainly an ambitious and rather radical argument, as acknowledged by Bregman himself, who nevertheless in this volume shows us the limits and contradictions inherent in those scientific theories of human behaviour that insist on identifying conflict as the ultimate engine of human evolution. It is precisely the deep rootedness in the Hobbesian and Lebonian view’s on human behaviour, both in the academic and in the public debate, which is very different from that proposed by Bregman, giving a connotation of «radicality» to the Danish historian’s arguments.

Regardless of any general and definitive assessment on the issue, which we do not intend to advance here [2], in recent years the media has provided a worrying picture of political and social relations, which are characterized by an increase in so-called «hate speech» [3] and a constant re-occurrence of «hate crimes», also as a consequence of the multiplication of virtual spaces for discussion, now potentially accessible to anyone. The increased visibility of hate phenomena is often considered as strictly related to the extreme polarization of the political debate [4]; indeed, more and more space seems to be given to hate speech directed against the scapegoat of the moment. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the scientific debate on «hate speech» has also been intensifying rapidly. This was followed by a redefinition, still in progress, of several aspects of international law and national legal systems, which resulted in an improvement of the systems of sanctions aimed at discouraging and punishing this type of practice [5].

Scholars from different disciplines have analysed the concept of hate. For instance, social scientists, neuroscientists and psychologists have described hate as a form of passion, a feeling, an emotion, but, on the whole, the very concept of hate remains ambiguous and hardly ascribable to rigid interpretations. Indeed, even within each of the various disciplines that have attempted to addressed this topic, it is difficult to find an unambiguous definition of the nature of «hate» widely shared and accepted. As a result, the term «hate» continues to be often used to indicate profoundly different phenomena and realities [6].

Similarly, different types of analyses produced different answers as to why and how hatred arises, in what forms it usually manifests, which behaviours can produce it, and what are most effective ways to counter it.

In a constant dialogue with neuroscience, the approach proposed by the so-called «history of emotions» [7] seems to open interesting scenarios regarding the role of hate in human evolution. Such an approach integrates neuroscientific evidence on the neural mechanisms of the brain underlying memory, empathy and fear processes, utilising wide-ranging analyses that propose new interpretations of important historiographic problems, such as the development of discriminatory propaganda strategies, segregating policies, collective racist behaviours, genocides and mass violence, the role of fear in the genesis of collective behaviours, or the relationship between oral history and memory. Even in the context of this recent field of study, however, the interpretative strands have clearly differentiated over time, bringing out sometimes irreconcilable positions, which in turn refer to the more general dichotomy between universalism and social constructivism [8] and, again, to the age-old debate on the relative importance of «nature» and «culture» [9].

What interests us here is not the use of hate as a historiographical category, nor the elaboration of a comprehensive definition of the concept of hate, but rather the questioning of the idea that hatred is an innate element and an inevitable «automatic» product of human nature.

Instead, it is necessary to leave room for the idea that both the feelings of hate and hate-motivated behaviours result from concrete and partially identifiable and interpretable dynamics. This does not mean one has to deny the important role of emotional and affective components in the emergence of hatred; if anything, it means to favour its social and political dimensions while leaving the study of its emotional dimension to the fields of psychosocial and neuroscientific research, although without forgetting that strong two-way links connect the different dimensions of the phenomenon [10].

Thus, while considering hate phenomena as a synthesis of emotional, cognitive and cultural factors, and while weighing up those approaches that see emotions as a by-product of either biological or socio-cultural processes and those that propose intermediate interpretations [11], here we have chosen to highlight the cultural, social and political dimensions of hate.

From this perspective, the phenomena mentioned so far can be recognised throughout the history of mankind. We are here referring to verbal or non-verbal behaviours that turned into delegitimizations of interlocutors [12], criticisms of the object of hate or toward which hate has been conveyed, acts aimed at conveying fanaticism without physically damaging people – humiliations, threats, acts of vandalism, use of symbols for intimidation – up to physical aggression or mass violence that resulted in the ultimate and definitive act of physical elimination of the «enemy» [13].

The diachronic analysis of the context in which these phenomena have occurred is the first step to identify their genesis and causes. The historiography that has dealt with these issues has shown that hate-motivated behaviours have arisen in consequence of various forms of social pressure, of obedience to authority, fears connected to perceived threats and dangers, particularly in phases of economic and social crisis, or as a consequence of propaganda and indoctrination of varying intensity. In other cases, strong resentment for injustices, real or imaginary, have become relevant. In any case, it was rarely a question of phenomena without significant socio-cultural value.

The processes mentioned so far are relevant on a scientific level as they do not refer to isolated or random episodes but rather to criminal behaviours that have had a significant social impact and have often been rationally planned. Such episodes can be qualified as «hate politics» when present alongside forms of planning by political or social organizations, and especially when directly linked to the intervention of state apparatuses bodies, or at least facilitated by such bodies. The articulation of these «politics» cannot be considered exclusively the purview of governments, but also of political parties, movements, and even prominent intellectuals. Nonetheless, such politics have reached the most extreme and ruthless forms when state institutions were involved in their implementation, even indirectly, instigating and legitimizing the authors and guaranteeing substantial impunity [14].

Among the basic assumptions shared by most of the theses that emerged in the various disciplinary fields is the idea that hate phenomena presupposes the existence of an Other-from-us towards which hatred is directed, which generally assume the characteristics of an “enemy”. In this regard, the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan underlined how, unlike the other «passions of being» (love and ignorance), hatred, in its «solid» or «fundamental» version, aims not at the other’s have, but at the others’ very being [15]. Above all, it would be this «solid» hatred that circulates today, «producing segregations and, above all, denying the others the chance to speak» [16].

The «construction of the enemy» is often linked to social categorisation processes, which contributes to strengthening the sense of belonging to a specific group by emphasising the negative aspects of other groups. These are cognitive processes that allow individuals to orient themselves in the complexity of the world, thus responding to a need for simplification while at the same time feeding stereotypical representations and expectations and often leading to forms of stigmatisation, denigration and rejection of the other [17].

According to well-known scholars, mass politics is based on this friend/enemy distinction, which consists of «aggregating and defending friends and disaggregating and fighting enemies» [18]. Thus, a specific audience would be convinced to identify a specific group as a threat [19]. In the collection of essays entitled Costruire il nemico Umberto Eco proposed a «phenomenology» of hatred, highlighting how, in different periods and places, it has represented a cement to build the unity of a group or a nation, and how it had been instrumental in the construction of specific categories of «enemies» through the centuries [20]. During history, creating the image of the “enemy” has often taken place among people of the same nationality. Still, strategies aimed at the construction of external enemies were equally widespread.

Unsurprisingly, rhetoric on hate has proved to be more fruitful during times of social and economic crisis, when the feelings of collective insecurity were stronger; this, in turn, has led to an increase in hate phenomena. Research in various fields has demonstrated that hate can be a consequence of various forms of “fear” that can also occur spontaneously and independently of manipulative strategies attributable to governments, organized groups or individual leaders. However, historical research has also shown how the rooting and consolidation of collective feelings of hatred can be greatly facilitated by more or less systematic operations of propaganda and indoctrination. Such operations have normally been aimed at exploiting feelings of fear by acting on the entire population’s perceptions and imagination or specific groups [21].

The – mostly undeclared – aim was to create the conditions for accepting the solutions proposed by the promoters of hate speech, which were functional to protecting their interests, creating legal frameworks justifying discriminatory or repressive practices [22]. Mass communication tools’ control, exploitation of culture and educational policies, refined mechanisms of censorship along with forms of indoctrination conveying hate rhetoric, have therefore played a crucial role in the delicate and complex transformation of the «fear of the other» into «Hatred of the other»; thus, the transformation of the «other» in «enemy».

Practices aimed at creating terror and fear in the population for political purposes, repressive policies based on discriminatory assumptions, propaganda strategies aimed at identifying enemy, have spanned centuries and continents, but reached unprecedented levels during the Twentieth century particularly in the context of totalitarian regimes [23].

The atrocities committed during the Second World War demonstrate how rhetoric based on hatred and policies aimed at the intentional construction of internal or external enemies, particularly in a cultural and economic context that allows for their diffusion and consolidation, contribute significantly to the occurrence of collective tragedies or, by borrowing legal concepts, crimes against humanity [24].

The construction of a new international order based on human dignity protection became an ethical imperative after World War II, particularly as a moral reaction of organised international society against the crimes committed before and during the conflict.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 could then be interpreted as a rejection of any form of manifestation of hatred or, at least in terms of principles, as a rejection of hate policies, even though both the Declaration and other mechanisms of international promotion and protection of human rights have not been able to prevent the periodic recurrence, in different forms and intensities, of practices and behaviours similar to those mentioned up to now. Policies aimed at instilling hatred towards an enemy, now external, now internal, have continued to travel across continents, facilitated by the dynamics triggered by the Cold War’s logic, and continued to be present in ever-renewed forms up to these days [25].

Similarly, although scientific research has deconstructed the idea of race, we cannot claim that today we are in a completely post-racist era. In addition to traditional forms of racism that, despite being less present, occasionally give rise to insidious phenomena we are witnessing the periodic revival of new forms of «cultural» racism, particularly present in the language of political movements with «sovereign» tendencies that cannot renounce xenophobia. Thus, overcoming the biological accounts of race has given way to a «cultural racism without races». This type of racism does not reference the natural inferiority of the other; however, it finds other ways to dehumanise the other. For instance, the other is stripped of its human dignity and reduced to an object. Also, the Other is criticised to hinder or prevent the production of feelings of identification, solidarity, or empathy. According to this «rhetoric of hatred», the «irreducible diversity» of the «enemy» would result in the impossibility of a coexistence that would not lead to the destruction or disappearance of other groups and, therefore, the impossibility of any form of integration [26].

In cases of racism and those of gender-based violence, the processes of de-humanisation affect the body of the Other, which, as Jean-Paul Sartre already noted in 1943, constitutes the psychic object par excellence [27]. Assaulting the body through the creation of demonising narratives and representations or real violations of physical integrity is equivalent to assaulting the individual’s personality, whose identity can be denied and annihilated [28].

This monographic issue intends to contribute to the creation of a space of historiographical debate on «hatred and enemy», inevitably wide and complex, through the reconstruction of specific case studies that analyze the different shapes and forms taken by these phenomena in different times and places. The analysis mainly focuses on the European and African context, regions that were transversally crossed by extreme forms of enemy-construction processes during the Twentieth century.

The history of colonialism has been characterised by the political use of hatred and resentment, which have often been fuelled through complex propaganda policies supporting a particular position. As emerges from the essay by Gianmarco Mancosu – Risentimento coloniale. I “nemici” dell’Italia e la retorica sul ritorno in Africa (1946-1960) – in the discourse in support of Italian expansionism in Africa, the «enemies» or the object of resentment were other imperialist countries, accused of wanting to keep Italy in a constant condition of subordination, more than the populations that suffered colonization or who opposed the Italian post-colonial presence. If the rhetoric of resentment towards European countries that would have prevented Italy from becoming a great power has been a central element in Italian colonial discourse since its dawn, that same rhetoric occupied a central place in political communication on decolonisation after World War II. In particular, the author highlights the role of newsreels and short documentaries produced by the LUCE Institute and INCOM in the construction of external enemies, functional to promote a self-absolving memory of national expansionism.

The States that emerged after decolonisation have promoted policies aimed at identifying external enemies to strengthen the State and Nation Building processes. This is the case of Somalia, on which the work of Pablo Arconada Ledesma – La construcción de enemigos externos como vía para la cohesión nacional en Somalia (1950-1991) – focuses. The author demonstrates how the construction of alleged external enemies has been considered by the ruling class a useful tool to circumvent the problem of poor national cohesion due to the clan nature of Somali societies before 1960.

In this context, it would not be possible not to refer to anti-Semitism as an example of the process of constructing an enemy over the centuries, which has occurred in different societies assuming different declinations. Dwelling on a neglected case study, Giordano Bottecchia, in the essay “Radio Le Caire incitait les Libyens à se soulever, à tuer les Juifs, à chasser les américains”: reflets de la propagande nassérienne sur les violence de juin 1967 en Libye analyzes how Nasser’s anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist and anti-reactionary rhetoric played an important role in the outbreak of the riots which took place in Libya in June 1967, which contributed to the exodus of the Jewish community from the country. The pogroms of ’67 fit into the context of the long history of ethnic-religious antagonism between Jews and Muslims, exacerbated by Arab propaganda centred on the “Zionist” enemy. However, unlike other similar cases, they were fuelled by rhetoric also directed to the British, the Americans, the local Jews and the monarchical regime, thus combining elements of anti-imperialism and anti-Semitism.

The political and the historical-artistic perspectives, which are at the base of Luka Nikolić and Igor Milić’s work and Julie Constant’s work, enrich the reflection proposed here. The essay Deconstructing the Frenemy in International Relations, by Igor Milić and Luka Nikolić, is based on the need for lenses other than the dichotomous ontology of friendship vs enmity; adopting the approach of political science, the authors come to propose a new key to reading the problem, or an «ontology without ontology to capture the moment of radical undecidability which accounts for the haunting histories of counterfactual thinking and the immanent reversibility of dominant signifiers and the meanings annexed». In the essay Figurer l’ennemi, Des artistes rescapés des camps nazis Constant examines the characteristics and development of the enemy’s image in works of visual art (drawings, paintings, sculpture and engravings) of several artists that escaped Nazi atrocities. In this case, as the author highlights, the enemy appears in the guise of the executioner, often represented in such a way as to remain anonymous, a «vague silhouette that threatens the deportees». In transposing their experience into a work of art, the artists opt for an evocative symbolism: «the predator, machine or ogre, the enemy figure becomes an archetype».

Lastly, the monographic issue hosts the Italian translation of an article that appeared in the «Revista de Teoria da Historia» in 2020, which analyses the use of «history» in international war crimes courts. By closely examining the concrete strategies pursued by prosecutors and defense lawyers, Wilson’s work seeks to understand the reasons that push the latter to venture into the past and to bring out the legal relevance of historical evidence. Thus, international war crimes tribunals become not only a place where the «enemies» are processed, but also an experience that allows us to investigate the historical causes at the origin of those crimes – which we can define as hate crimes – of which the defendants are accused. Although legal ways of ascertaining truth are different from those of history, the author argues, the two are efficiently combined in international trials in a way that challenges us to reconsider the relationship between law and history. In the Slobodan Milosevic trial, the prosecution sought to demonstrate special intent to commit genocide by reference to a long-standing animus, nurtured within a nationalist mindset; an animus with many elements in common with the idea of hatred that we have recalled here.

Overall, the wide range of studies presented here, which constitute a variety of different perspectives, mode of analyses and methodologies, are good examples of the results that an interdisciplinary approach offer to the study of the role of hatred and the enemy in history. What emerges from these studies is that the identification of the «enemy» – here labelled as the «other»: a specific group of compatriots or foreigners, or one or more foreign state – has taken various forms through different times and places, sometimes building on latent feelings of fear and rejection, discriminatory policies or deep-rooted forms of pre-existing nationalism. Although the timeline of this monographic issue is the twentieth century, the context of the essay offer food for thought useful to identify elements of long-term continuity in these processes, as well as aspects common to the cases analyzed, which are very different from each other; this is particularly true for the theoretical essays, which, as we have seen, offer interesting and original perspectives on the general issue analysed here.

The aim of this monographic issue is not, obviously, to propose a view contrary to that proposed by Bregman, which we briefly referred to at the beginning of this introduction. We certainly do not want to put forward the extreme hypothesis that the twentieth century’s history can be interpreted as a progressive affirmation of polarisation of political, social and cultural confrontation. Nor we want to propose a view of a period characterized by failed attempts to promote forms of peaceful coexistence between different ethnic groups, cultures and systems of values, to build international peace and consolidate forms of international cultural and political cooperation.

On the contrary, it could be argued that the dramatic and tragic events of the twentieth century can also be read as a story of pivotal reactions to hate speech and crimes, which constituted efforts to facilitate forms of knowledge and understanding of the Other, thus overcoming the extremes of confrontation and laying the foundations for promoting more articulated and less simplistic evaluations. Such efforts had the intent to accept the complexity of reality, which is, presumably, a necessary condition for a civil confrontation that enables the peaceful coexistence between the individuals and the States, and at the same time, enable the construction of policies of solidarity and cooperation. Therefore, a slow and often silent unfolding of practices aimed at opposing and containing the impact of hate phenomena as much as possible. In particular, such practices have been strongly asserted when crimes and human rights’ violations have reached intolerable proportions for large sections of the national public opinion and the international community, to the point of encouraging the maturation of political cultures attentive in the protection of democracy, pluralism, cooperation [29].

The video-interview section, an integral part of this issue, offer further reflections on possible forms of contrast to hate speech and hate policies. First and foremost, becoming fully aware of our collective and individual responsibilities in the spread of the phenomenon; paying more attention to the study of hate speech and hate policies’ consequences on those who suffer it; reporting hate speech; encouraging a culture of peaceful confrontation and mutual respect; identifying the origins of formation and rooting of negative stereotypes about certain categories; “decolonizing” educational and educational paths; deconstructing hate speech by highlighting its elements of illogicality, the weakness of its arguments and their nature as slogans. These are some solutions proposed by the interviewees, Federico Faloppa, Deborah Paci and Sara Tonelli, who, building on their respective research paths and different disciplinary perspectives (socio-linguistic and historical), propose alternative, but in many ways absolutely complementary, approaches to the study of the topic. The interview section, more focused on the analysis of current issues, offers the possibility of extending such reflection to the present time, highlighting both the continuity and rooting of the mechanisms of hate speech and hate policies, and the possibilities of opposing their diffusion.

Overall, the historical research proposed here aims to strengthen the knowledge necessary to fuel interdisciplinary reflection. A reflection that we believe is more necessary than ever to become fully aware of the potentially destructive force inherent in hate speech and policies and in constructing the enemy. Ultimately, this would serve to effectively oppose the spreading of the «hate virus» [30], which has produced – and still does – sufferings of incalculable dimensions in quality and quantity to a huge number of victims.


I would like to thank the guest editor, the authors, the referees, the interviewees and the journal’s editorial staff (in particular Jacopo Bassi and Matteo Tomasoni) for their efforts to ensure that a monographic issue that started in the midst of one of the most complicated and difficult periods of recent years (not only for scientific research) could take shape and, finally, see the light of day.

Vorrei ringraziare il guest editor, gli autori e le autrici, i referees, gli intervistati e la Redazione della rivista (in particolare Jacopo Bassi e Matteo Tomasoni) per l’impegno profuso affinché un numero monografico avviato nel pieno di uno dei periodi più complicati e difficili degli ultimi anni – non solo per la ricerca scientifica – potesse prendere forma e, infine, vedere la luce.



[1] BREGMAN, Rutger, De meeste mensen deugen. Een nieuwe geschiedenis van de mens, Amsterdam, De Correspondent, 2019 [ed. it.: Una nuova storia (non cinica) dell’umanità, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2020].

[2] For a completely different perspective see: GAT, Azar, War and Human civilization, Oxford, Oxford University Press 2006.

[3] Among the most effective recent operational definitions stands the one provided by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Combating Hate Speech, ECRI General Policy Recommendation No.15 – adopted on 8 December 2015 ,according to which hate speech «entails the use of one or more particular forms of expression – namely, the advocacy, promotion or incitement of the denigration, hatred or vilification of a person or group of persons, as well any harassment, insult, negative stereotyping, stigmatization or threat of such person or persons and any justification of all these forms of expression – that is based on a non-exhaustive list of personal characteristics or status that includes “race”, colour, language, religion or belief, nationality or national or ethnic origin, as well as descent, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation». ECRI, Combating Hate Speech ECRI General Policy Recommendation No.15 – adopted on 8 December 2015, Council of Europe, 21 March 2016, p. 16.

[4] On these topics see: KLEIN, Ezra, Why we’re polarized, New York, Simon and Schuster, 2020.

[5] Recent historical and historical-linguistic studies published in Italy include: FALOPPA, Federico, #odio. Manuale di resistenza alla violenza delle parole, Milano, UTET, 2020; FOTIA, Laura (ed.), Le politiche dell’odio nel Novecento americano, Roma, Nova Delphi, 2020; CANFORA, Luciano, Fermare l’odio, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2019; CERI, Paolo, LORINI, Alessandra (eds.), La costruzione del nemico. Istigazione all’odio in Occidente, Torino, Rosenberg&Sellier, 2019; SANTERINI, Milena (ed.), Il nemico innocente: l’incitamento all’odio nell’Europa contemporanea, Milano, Guerini e Associati, 2019.

[6] FOTIA, Laura, Le politiche dell’odio e il Novecento americano, in ID. (ed.), Le politiche dell’odio nel Novecento americano, cit., pp. 9-17; FALOPPA, Federico, op. cit., pp. 19-35. Particularly insightful in this regard, especially as it encompasses a significant number of historiographical studies is the Duplex Theory of Hate advanced by social psychologist Robert J. Sternberg. Sternberg identifies 3 components of hate, whose combination generates 7 different types of hate: «negation of intimacy» – the search for distance from the object of hate due to feelings of repulsion, spontaneous or induced –, «passion» – grudge or fear in response to a threat, again, spontaneous or induced through propaganda – and «commitment», belittling judgment of a group grounded in despise. According to Sternberg, hate «emerges from different kinds of stories» that individuals, in certain condition, might even perceive as real, such as for instance «Stranger (vs. in-group)», «Impure-other (vs. pure in-group)», «Enemy of God (vs. servant of God)», «Morally bankrupt (vs. morally sound)», «Barbarian (vs. civilized in-group)», «Greedy enemy (vs. financially responsible in-group)», «Criminal (vs. innocent party)», «Murderer (vs. victim)», «Animal-pest (vs. human)», «Thwarter/destroyer of destiny (vs. seeker of destiny)». STERNBERG, Robert J., «A duplex theory of hate: Development and application to terrorism, massacres, and genocide», in Review of General Psychology, 7, 3/2003, pp. 299-328; STERNBERG, Robert J., STERNBERG, Karin, The nature of hate, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008.

[7] AGNEW, Vanessa, «History’s Affective Turn. Historical Reenactment and Its work in the Present», in Rethinking History, 3, 2007, pp. 299-312; PLAMPER, Jan, «Introduction», in «Emotional Turn? Feeling in Russian History and Culture», in Slavic Review, 2, 2009, pp. 229-237. For a synopsis of this peculiar kind of historiographical approach see: ROSENWEIN, Barbara H., «Worrying about Emotions in History», in American Historical Review, 3, 2002, pp. 821-845; PLAMPER, Jan, Storia delle emozioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2012, pp. 67-119.

[8] See: STEARNS, Peter N., STEARNS, Carol Z., «Emotionology. Clarifying the History of Emotions and Emotional Standards», in American Historical Review, 4, 1985, pp. 813-836; ROSENWEIN, Barbara, Introduction in ID., (editor), Anger’s Past. The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1998, p. 2.

[9] One of the goals of Plamper’s work is proposing an innovative approach to the study of the history of emotions able to address this problem. PLAMPER, Jan, Storia delle emozioni, cit., p. 18.

[10] FOTIA, Laura, Le politiche dell’odio e il Novecento americano, cit., pp. 11-13.

[11] On the debate between the social-constructivist and the universalist approach see: PLAMPER, Jan, Storia delle emozioni, cit., pp. 121-378; REDDY, William M., The Navigation of Feeling. A Framework for the History of emotions, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 3-140.

[12] On the use of the concept of delegitimization in historiography see: CAMMARANO, Fulvio, «Delegitimization: A Useful Category for Political History», in Ricerche di Storia Politica, 20, Special Issue, 2017, pp. 65-74. See also: La delegittimazione politica nell’età contemporanea, 5 voll., Roma, Viella, 2016-2018, by several authors.

[13] Some of these behaviors are considered typical “hate behaviors” by social psycholgists OPOTOW, Susan, MCCLELLAND, Sara I. «The Intensification of Hating: A Theory», in Social Justice Research, 20, 2007, pp. 68-97.

[14] FOTIA, Laura, Le politiche dell’odio e il Novecento americano, cit., pp. 13-17.

[15] LACAN, Jaques, Il Seminario, Libro I. Gli scritti tecnici di Freud (1953-1954), Torino, Einaudi, 1978, p. 335. On these see: RECALCATI, Massimo, Sull’odio, Milano, Mondadori, 2004.

[16] MANZETTI, Rosa Elena, Odi(i), in TKACH, Maria Laura (a cura di), Incarnazioni dell’odio. Razzismi, sessismi, crudeltà quotidiane, Torino, Edizioni SEB, 2020, pp.9-12, p. 12.

[17] GALIMBERTI, Umberto, Il Corpo, cit. in DE PICCOLI, Norma, Corpo (e sesso biologico) come marchio sociale, in TKACH, Maria Laura (a cura di), Incarnazioni dell’odio. Razzismi, sessismi, crudeltà quotidiane, cit., pp. 29-33.

[18] s.v. «Politica», in BOBBIO, Noberto, MATTEUCCI, Nicola, PASQUINO, Gianfranco, Dizionario di politica, Milano, Tea, 2006, p. 805.

[19] Cfr. VELTRI, Francesca, Se non è vero, è verosimile. La costruzione del nemico fra realtà e rappresentazione, in La costruzione del nemico. Istigazione all’odio in Occidente, cit., pp. 15-40; FREUND, Julien, L’Essence du politique, Paris, Sirey, 1965; SCHMITT, Carl, Le categorie del ‘politico’, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2013.

[20] ECO, Umberto, Costruire il nemico e altri scritti occasionali, Milano, Bompiani, 2012

[21] Among the many studies on fear see: LEFEBVRE, Georges, La grande peur de 1789, Paris, Alcan, 1932; DELUMEAU, Jean, La peur en Occident (XIVe-XVIIIe siècles). Une cité assiégée, Paris, Fayard, 1978; GUIDI, Laura, PELLIZZARI, Maria Rosaria, VALENZI, Lucia, Storia e paure: immaginario collettivo, riti e rappresentazioni della paura in età moderna, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 1992; COREY, Robin, Fear. The History of a Political Idea, New York, Oxford University Press, 2004; BOURKE, Joanna, Paura. Una storia culturale, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2015; GINZBURG, Carlo, Paura reverenza terrore. Cinque saggi di iconografia politica, Milano, Adelphi, 2015; BOUCHERON, Patrick, Conjurer la peur: Sienne, 1338. Essai sur la force politique des images, Paris, Editions du Seuil; BOUCHERON, Patrick, COREY, Robin, El miedo. Historia y usos políticos de una emoción, Madrid, Clave Intelectual, 2019.

[22] MORENO CANTANO, Antonio César, «Parole in Storia: Paura» (transl. Matteo Tomasoni), in Diacronie, URL: < > [consulted on 29 January 2020].

[23] FOTIA, Laura, Le politiche dell’odio e il Novecento americano, cit., pp. 17-25; see also: FALOPPA, Federico, #odio. Manuale di resistenza alla violenza delle parole, cit., pp. 30-41.

[24] Ibidem, pp. 22-23. For a definition of crimes against humanity see Art. 7, Statuto della Corte Penale Internazionale, Roma 1998. On the relationship between terror and totalitarianism see: ARENDT, Hannah, «Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government», in The Review of Politics, 3, pp. 303-327, ID., The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York, Schocken, 1951.

[25] FOTIA, Laura, Le politiche dell’odio e il Novecento americano, cit., pp. 22-23; Dichiarazione universale dei diritti umani, with a Preface by Liliana Segre, Milano, Garzanti, 2018.

[26] AIME, Marco, Nuovi volti del razzismo, in TKACH, Maria Laura (a cura di), Incarnazioni dell’odio. Razzismi, sessismi, crudeltà quotidiane, cit., pp. 49-52.

[27] SARTRE, Jean-Paul, ’essere e il nulla, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1968 [ed. or.: L’Être et le Néant: essai d’ontologie phenomenologique, Paris, Gallimard, 1943].

[28] DE PICCOLI, Norma, Corpo (e sesso biologico) come marchio sociale, cit., pp. 29-30.

[29] FOTIA, Laura, Le politiche dell’odio e il Novecento americano, cit., pp. 33-35; ZANATTA, Loris, «La sindrome del cavallo di Troia: l’immagine del nemico interno nella storia dell’America Latina», in Storia e Problemi Contemporanei, 35, 2004, pp. 107-135, p. 133; MONINA, Giancarlo (a cura di), Memorie di repressione, resistenza e solidarietà in Brasile e in America Latina dagli archivi della Fondazione Basso, Roma, Ediesse, 2013; STABILI, Maria Rosaria, Le verità ufficiali: transizioni politiche e diritti umani in America latina, Roma, Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2010, passim.

[30] For an analysis of the recent use of the concept of “hate virus” see: FALOPPA, Federico, #odio. Manuale di resistenza all’uso delle parole, cit., pp. 240-254.


Per citare questo articolo

Fotia, Laura, «On Hate and the Enemy, from the 20th century to today: a global view», Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea, N. 45, 1|2021

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Creative Commons License«On Hate and the Enemy, from the 20th century to today: a global view» by Laura Fotia / Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione – Condividi allo stesso modo 3.0 Unported.


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