The politics of intimacy: Nazi and Hutu propaganda as case studies

David Deutsch, Niza Yanay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the particular (but not exclusive) relationship between violent intimacy and Nazi and Hutu genocidal propaganda in relation to national desires. It focuses on the fears of the ‘double’ (the close stranger) as projected in language in order to point to the ‘anxiety of intimacy’ as a dangerous social space that under specific historical and political conditions can turn into genocide. As paradoxical as it may seem, intimacy is not only a concept of love but also a concept of hate and violence. This article aims to show how genocidal language can simultaneously reflect the desire of the other and its disavowal in violent language. Nazi and Hutu propaganda are analysed as case studies using psychoanalytic interpretations and social criticism theory to discuss how violent intimacy works in language and how mimetic desire of the other (of its freedom, power, intellect, pleasures, etc.), constitutes negative identification and a fear of the ‘double other’, giving rise to a ‘rapture of death’. Violent intimacy is not the only explanation of genocide, but it is a hidden force that should not be overlooked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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