chapter  Four
Phobic objects, subalterns, and enemies as resources for identity maintenance
ByMark Bracher
Pages 27

The existence of most subaltern groups–including criminals, addicts, and terrorists, as well as ethnic, racial, sexual, economic, and political—is usually assumed to be the consequence of historical contingencies and different levels of innate ability and moral fibre, of the economic interests of the elite. Rarely is it acknowledged that the existence these subaltern groups is the result of political choices made by the masses of “normal” people, and that such subalterns serve crucial psychological needs for most “normal”, privileged citizens. The most obvious and widespread instance of the creation of subalterns for identity maintenance is found in prejudice and group hatred. The unconscious strategy of identity maintenance motivates the War on Drugs. The War on Crime has consumed a tremendous amount of financial and human resources that could be used much more productively. The same identity need, and the same strategy for maintaining it, can be found motivating the USA’s War on Terrorism.