Smoke and Mirrors: Acknowledgement, Alienation, Antisocial Behaviour and Transformation


Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY031000

Antisocial behaviour terrifies most, if not all human beings. This fear leads to various, previously learned ways of trying to defend against it. It often leads to disrespect in relationships and wars between countries. On a professional level, it has given rise to resources such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to prevent this behaviour. This book uses case studies, client narratives and socio-political examples to show these different forms of defence are often, ironically also the fuel of growing antisocial and prosocial behaviour.

Seeing antisocial behaviour as a resource for learning new skills of defence (instead of justification for disrespect), and using it transformatively, could result in different consequences, based on interpersonal, national and international growth. Prevention and transformation of antisocial behaviour depends crucially on our commitment to look critically at ourselves and the work people do so that society can develop a sense of agency.

In this book, the author uses examples from a developing country, South Africa (and as it has learned from other countries, particularly the United States), as a microcosm. Its mission over the past twenty-two years has been to transform from a country ravaged by disrespect to one of mutual respect. It has largely failed, not due to lack of intention, but because of not knowing how legacies from the past are persistent in the identity of the country as they are in the identities of people as individuals and in their relationships. Nonetheless, there are instances where lessons from the past have been used to transform the present.

This broad analysis of antisocial behaviour in South Africa can be of particular interest not only in this country, but also to other countries plagued by growing levels of crime and violence.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents




Part 1. Narrative Based on Fear and Recidivism

Chapter 1. Fighting or Colluding with ‘Bad’/Antisocial Behaviour

Chapter 2. Feeding Social ‘Madness’ and ‘Badness’

Chapter 3. Psychology Regressing into Centralised Authoritarianism

Chapter 4. Socio-Political Relationships: Regressing in Transition

Chapter 5. Defensive Implications of Socio-Political Regression

Chapter 6. Prison: The Institution of Revenge

Chapter 7. The Ultimate Form of Revenge in Prison: Solitary Confinement

Chapter 8. Restorative Justice: Rehabilitation or Recidivism?

Part 2. Narrative Based on Empowerment and Transformation

Chapter 9. Significance of Recognition

Chapter 10. Alienation: An Element of Recognition

Chapter 11. Commonality between Hunted and Hunter: Antonie Wessels

Chapter 12. The Link Between Psychology, Society and Rehabilitation

Chapter 13. Recognition, Alienation and Socio-Political Transformation


About the Author



This book would be of interest primarily to an academic audience of psychologists and psychiatrists. It also discusses matters of interest to sociologists, criminologists, lawyers and an informed lay audience of people with an interest in human rights issues, prison reform, criminal justice and politics.

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