Rebell - Rebell

The terms rebel (from the Latin rebellis , 'insurgent') and insurgent refer to someone who is involved in an individual or collective uprising (rebellion) or tries to set it in motion.

History of terms and use of language

The word "rebel" is derived from the Latin adjective rebellis ("insurgent"). It was probably borrowed into Middle High German in the 15th century via the Middle Latin legal language, possibly also conveyed via French . As a noun , “rebel” has been traceable in German since the 16th century and has generally been used since then to refer to someone who opposes the authorities . In the same word field are the terms “rioter”, “insurgent”, “incitator” or “rebel” with positive or negative connotations .

The term “rebel” is usually received without judgment; Terrorist is clearly and very negatively connoted ; the term freedom fighter positive.

As the mass media use both terms variably in their reporting for comparable issues, diverging interests in international power politics can be easily identified.

Resistance fighters are called fighters who resist an existing government - often armed. Often this happens in paramilitary groups. But it can also mean political resistance.


Nonconformists are people who stand out from the crowd and mainstream in their views on political or cultural matters . Rebel is understood here more as a rebellious and revolting person, usually also a young person, who expresses his rejection of the existing conditions through his appearance, his statements and his behavior. An example of this are the youngsters of the post-war period.

Conformist rebel

According to the critical theory , the socio-psychological figure of the conformist rebel or authoritarian rebel has an authoritarian character . According to this concept, narcissistic insult and appreciation, pathic projection and conformist rebellion are linked to one another in the authoritarian person . The rebel, equipped with a weak self , has a “bicyclist nature”, who kicks those on top and kicks weaker ones.

“The ambivalent desire to belong to the authority and to submit to it at the same time leads, according to the view of the time, that the weak ego has to direct its aggressions against outgroups because it is not in a position to direct them against the authorities of its own group . In that the weak ego fantasizes about becoming a member of a collective that is powerful in history, it at the same time agrees with the authority of its own group. This mechanism explains why the weak ego appears as authoritarian only when it can be certain of the secret or explicit consent of the authority of the ingroup. It rebels, but it rebels conformistically. This is accompanied by an enormous narcissistic satisfaction that Freud once didCalled narcissism of small differences . " [1]

The conformist rebellion is considered socially accepted. [2] It calls for a strong state, for example in order to prevent a perceived disorder, as in the riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen :

"The revolt from the right, which resembles a children's crusade , uses violent means to massively demand authority: it is sued because it promises what one is desperately looking for: clarity, decisiveness, reduction of the complex society." [3]

The concept of a conformist and authoritarian rebel also corresponds to the subject construction according to Nora Räthzel, in which the subject tries “to be able to act in the face of social conditions to which one feels at the mercy.” The identification of scapegoats puts individuals in the role of active agents. Social problems and contradictions are transformed in such a way that an inner contradiction can be transformed into an inside-outside contradiction. An inner, protective community of action is produced. The autonomously acting individual is considered to be the central size of our form of society and it is precisely this ideology that leads to fundamental structures of oppressionare not perceived, because recognizing one's own limitations through social conditions would mean that one would have to defend oneself against these conditions. [4]

See also



Wiktionary: Rebel - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Jan Weyand: On the topicality of the theory of the authoritarian character . In: jour fixe initiative berlin (ed.): Theory of Fascism - Critique of Society . Münster 2000. p. 57.
  2. Jan Weyand S. 70.
  3. Stephan Geelhaar, Ulrike Marz, Thomas Prenzel: Rostock-Lichtenhagen as a conformist revolt , in: 20 Years Rostock-Lichtenhagen ( Memento from August 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 1.31 MB) , ed. v. Thomas Prenzel, Rostock 2012, p. 65.
  4. Cf. Gudrun Hentges: Racism - dispute about the causes . In: Die Zeit, July 23, 1993 and Annita Kalpaka, Nora Räthzel (ed.): The difficulty of not being racist . Cologne: Dreisam-Verlag, 1994.