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Moving between frustration and anger

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Frustration is widely recognised to be central to many cases of moral anger in a political context, yet little philosophical attention has been paid to it. In this paper, I offer a much-needed philosophical analysis of frustration, working primarily with the example of the recent South African student protests. By developing a deeper philosophical understanding of frustration and its connections to moral anger, I argue that the movement between the two has a couple of important aspects. First, the movement involves a transformation from simply responding to some opposition to viewing that opposition as wrongfully imposed by an agent; second, in the cases that are my focus, the movement is a response to a persistent opposition that is compounded by an erosion of trust, confidence and hope within a moral community, which ultimately changes the very nature of the opposition into a form of wrongdoing. These aspects allow us to assess the appropriateness of the movement, thereby developing a rich analysis of moral anger arising out of frustration in a political context.
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Keywords: frustration; moral anger; moral relationships; political anger; reactive attitude

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Publication date: May 2020

This article was made available online on December 18, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Moving between frustration and anger".

More about this publication?
  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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