Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Freud on Sexual Identity in 2020

Abstract

While more and more scholars are turning to the respective works of Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Freud to explain phenomena unknown to their times, such as the impact of the internet, few are using a synthesis of their ideas in political theory and psychoanalysis to understand modern topics. Even rarer is the inclination to draw parallels between the two thinkers on the question of sexual identity. In this article, I use Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Freud to discuss major features of modern sexuality: the experience of coming out, the identification as straight, gay visibility online, and the struggle for gay rights. I show that a knowledge of Arendtian and Freudian concepts, and particularly a marriage between them, is essential to investigate recent trends, topics and controversies related to sexual identity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Arendt, H. (1958a). The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Arendt, H. (1958b). Origins of totalitarianism. New York: Meridian.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Arendt, H. (1959, Winter). Reflections on Little Rock. Dissent Magazine.

  4. Arendt, H. (1962, November 21). Letter to James Baldwin. In Library of Congress.

  5. Arendt, H. (1964). Eichmann in Jerusalem. New York: Viking Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Felzer, J. (2019, March 23). Teen screen time linked to feelings of loneliness: The importance of spending time with friends. ABC news. Retrieved April 25, 2020, from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/teen-screen-time-linked-feeling-loneliner-important-spend/story?id=61880116.

  7. Freud, S. (1905). Three essays on sexuality. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 7, 126–335.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Freud, S. (1909). Notes upon a case of obsessional neurosis. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 10, 151–318.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Freud, S. (1911). Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 12, 213–226.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Freud, S. (1914). On Narcissism. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 14, 67–102.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Freud, S. (1915). Instincts and their Vicissitudes. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 14, 109–140.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Freud, S. (1921). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 18, 65–144.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Freud, S. (1926). Address to the society of B’Nai B’Rith. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 20, 271–274.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Freud, S. (1933). Why war? The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 22, 195–216.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Freud, S. (1938). An outline of psycho-analysis. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 23, 139–208.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Honkasalo, J. (2014). Hannah Arendt as an ally for queer politics? Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory, 17, 180–200.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Jones, K. B. (2015). Queer(y)ing Hannah Arendt, or what’s Hannah Arendt got to do with intersectionality? New Political Science, 37(4), 458–475.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Launderville, D. (2003). Piety and politics. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Lauretis, T. (2017). The queerness of the drive. Journal of Homosexuality, 64(14), 1913–1929.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Lowder, B. (2020, February 26). Pete Buttigieg denounces the politics that made him possible. Slate. Retrieved April 25, 2020, from https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/02/buttigieg-revolutionary-politics-1960s-stonewall.html.

  21. Maslin, K. (2013). The gender-neutral feminism of Hannah Arendt. Hypatia, 28(3), 585–601.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Massad, J. A. (2007). Desiring Arabs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  23. Pfeiffer, E. (1972). Sigmund Freud and Lou Andreas-Salomé: Letters. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

  24. Zaretsky, E. (2015). Political Freud: A history. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rayyan Dabbous.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dabbous, R. Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Freud on Sexual Identity in 2020. Sexuality & Culture (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-020-09796-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Hannah Arendt
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Sexual identity
  • Identity politics
  • LGBT + rights