chapter  Seven
Decommissioning harmful defences
ByMark Bracher
Pages 16

A basic strategy for reducing social problems is to dissolve the defences that they rely on. Such dissolution can be promoted by developing, individually and collectively, the capacity for and habit of recognizing and exposing their operation in both individual and collective actions, attitudes, and emotions. It is important to explain operation of the social and cultural apparatuses that enable and enact collective denial, which works hand in hand with repression. Important signals of reaction formation should also be identified, such as going out of the way to assert or demonstrate one’s supposed feeling when such manifestation is not called for, or insisting on one’s feeling with more intensity than is warranted. Recognition of displacement, too, can be promoted by asking people first to consider its operation in common experiences of relative insignificance. To promote recognition and understanding of dyselaboration, attention can directed to historical failures to acknowledge the causal relations between social conditions such as poverty and inequality.