Socially accepted violence by “agents of law”: Sublimation of aggression as a model

Efrat Even-tzur*, Uri Hadar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The term “Socially accepted violence” refers to the use of physical force in a manner that is perceived as legitimate in certain cultures. The exploration of psychological processes characteristic to those who carry-out such forms of violence must, therefore, take into careful consideration the mutual influences between social constructions and the individual's psyche. This paper proposes a psychoanalytic study of a certain type of socially accepted violence, that which is committed by “agents of law” – members of institutions responsible for the execution of the state monopoly of violence. It examines the potential contribution of the underdeveloped Freudian concept of sublimation – the directing of drive towards a socially valued goal. Ideas by Freud, Elias and Girard regarding the elementary role of violence in social institutions servers to highlight the part of sublimation of aggression in the complex psychology of individuals who carry out socially accepted violence in the name of law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Aggression
  • Freud
  • Law
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Sublimation
  • Violence


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