Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2020, Page: 66-72
The Social Anthropology of Rage and Its Psychotherapeutic Challenge
Theodor Itten, Independent Researcher, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Received: Mar. 2, 2020;       Accepted: Apr. 8, 2020;       Published: Jun. 17, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijsts.20200803.15      View  229      Downloads  83
Rage – a sudden outburst of explosive and often destructive anger – is part of the human condition. Yet it is one that often hits the headlines in the context of celebrity outburst, domestic violence and road rage. Whether this violent anger is directed at complete strangers or people within our social spheres, it has developed its own terminology – ‘losing one’s cool, air rage, road rage, trolley rage are all increasingly accepted as a part of the pressures of modern day. This essay offers case studies which supply new socio-psychological and therapeutic insights, based on social-anthropological data. The author goes on to explore the triggers and characteristics associated with rage, from the perspective of both perpetrator and victim. He argues that there are evolutionary factors behind the physiological manifestations of rage – conflicts between our animal instincts and our need to function as a human, in a group. Using the analogy of a volcano to capture the intense energy and unpredictability of episodes of sudden rage, he puts forward several theories for the increasing prevalence of rage in modern society. His social phenomenological research suggests that the incidence of rage is significantly higher in densely populated, industrialized and computerized societies. Drawing on his own in-depth study, carried out in Switzerland, he estimates that around of a quarter of the population are prone to rage attacks – a startlingly high proportion. Itten argues that the therapeutic practitioner has a clear role to play in helping rage sufferers to devise positive strategies to manage their explosive emotions, developing routes out of rage. An open and frank appraisal of the ugly and destructive nature of sudden rage is the starting point, working with sufferers to build a deeper sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, so that they are de-sensitized and learn strategies to defuse anger and cope with situations which previously might have resulted in another explosion.
Sudden Rage, Social Anthropology, Psychotherapy, Social Psychology
To cite this article
Theodor Itten, The Social Anthropology of Rage and Its Psychotherapeutic Challenge, International Journal of Science, Technology and Society. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2020, pp. 66-72. doi: 10.11648/j.ijsts.20200803.15
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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