Problem

Loss of enemy

Other Names:
Loss of external identification
Disadvantage-based solidarity campaigns
Nature:
The solidarity created when there is a clear external threat or enemy acts as a powerful bonding agent. Over time this can evolve into an identification with the threat or disadvantage and its cultivation becoming central to the collective identity of the minority group. Minorities in this situation may either search for new external identifiers, new problems or enemies, evolve their collective struggle into more general areas such as the fight against corruption, or where the external identifier has been used extensively to cover or distract attention from internal divisions over the years, the minority group can find themselves broken down and lost in counterproductive internal feuding.
Incidence:
Identification with a perceived external enemy has been a central aspect of many disadvantage-based solidarity campaigns, for example, the anti-racism movement's identification with continuing racist practices in American society or American Jewish support for Israel in a hostile Middle East environment. So when peace is declared in the Middle East new internal divisions emerge within the Israeli and American Jewish communities no longer united against a set of common enemies, or as racism is diminished in American society, the black civil rights movement discovers an erosion in the collective sense of solidarity which once made it powerful and focused.

In the opinion of some commentators, the fall of the USSR brought on a national crisis of identity in the USA. The image of the USSR as a monolithic evil served to reinforce the identity of the USA as a monolithic virtue. With the loss of a convincing foreign demon, the country turns inward to search for equivalent evils within.

Claim:
Solidarity built upon fear of an enemy or a particular perceived oppression raises the question after the enemy is gone or the oppression relieved, can we manage without enemies?
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Subject(s):
Foreign
Conflict
Date of last update
23.09.2018 – 01:04 CEST