Domination

January 27, 2019

Domination, I have argued, is a twisting of the bonds of love. Domination does not repress the desire for recognition; rather, it enlists and transforms it. Beginning in the breakdown of the tension between self and other, domination proceeds through the alternate paths of identifying with or submitting to powerful others who personify the fantasy of omnipotence. For the person who takes this route to establishing his own power, there is an absence where the other should be. This void is filled with fantasy material in which the other appears so dangerous or so weak – or both – that he threatens the self and must be controlled. A vicious cycle begins: the more the other is subjugated, the less he is experienced as a human subject and the more distance or violence the self must deploy against him.

Jessica Benjamin
The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, & the Problem of Domination