The narcissism of small differences German : der Narzissmus der kleinen Differenzen is the thesis that communities with adjoining territories and close relationships are especially likely to engage in feuds and mutual ridicule because of hypersensitivity to details of differentiation. In language differing only slightly from current psychoanalytic terminology, Crawley declared that each individual is separated from others by a taboo of personal isolation, a narcissism of minor differences.
The term appeared in Civilization and Its Discontents —30 in relation to the application of the inborn aggression in man to ethnic and other conflicts, a process still considered by Freud, at that point, as a convenient and relatively harmless satisfaction of the inclination to aggression. Gabbard has suggested that Freud's narcissism of small differences provides a framework to understand that in a loving relationship, there can be a need to find, and even exaggerate, differences in order to preserve a feeling of separateness and self.
In terms of postmodernity , Clive Hazell argues that consumer culture has been seen as predicated on the narcissism of small differences to achieve a superficial sense of one's own uniqueness, an ersatz sense of otherness which is only a mask for an underlying uniformity and sameness. In , author Christopher Hitchens cited the phenomenon when talking about ethno-national conflicts.
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The psychology of narcissism - W. Keith Campbell