The concept of subversion (Latin subversor " subverters ," engl. " Decomposition " ) has several meanings. It generally refers to actions, intentions or views you want to provide or change the existing social order ( authorities, social affiliations and hierarchies, exploitation of groups, concentrations of power, etc.) in question.

Political Subversion

As political subversion is called an activity in secret, whose goal is the overthrow of an existing order through infiltration and subversion. The term is often used in a discriminatory or manipulative for groups that operate only suspected or alleged subversion. In some regimes will be referred to a summary of the total actual, suspected or alleged political opposition as subversion.

Methods of subversion can be:

  • Terror: The slander, threats, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, injury to or death of Representatives, members, supporters or accomplices of this order.
  • Sabotage: The removal, damage or destruction of objects and components of the infrastructure used to maintain this order.
  • Diversion: The spread of rumors or false information, the falsification or suppression of messages and documents, open or hidden propaganda against this order, or to groups or individuals who fight against this order, their recruitment, input or discharge and financing, as is the corruption or solicitation of supporters of the order.
  • Insubordination: Disobedience to superior, now used especially in terms of military command, see also insubordination and disobedience.
  • Subculture: The official culture, which advocates the officially desired values ​​, a culture is opposed to that propagates opposite content, such as in pop and rock music ( punk ), in electronic music ( Freetekno ), in Art ( Art in the GDR ) or literature ( dissident ). The said art can be subversive if they held up to existing wishful thinking of the social order a counter-model or with realities faced (eg ghettos ). As a non-political example mentioned at this point an example exploitation films of the 70s and 80s called, which were subversive by ankratzten with combinations of subjects such as church / religion, national socialism and excessive force to existing values ​​in order to provoke; of course without pursuing a political will, but simply to get people to lure them into the cinemas. Subversive topics have so often also a certain appeal to people.

Intelligence can also use these methods in their home country but usually with the goal of maintaining a certain regime, see the voltage strategy. The practiced by the KGB subversion against countries outside the boundaries of the former Soviet Union consisted of 4 stages: 1 2 demoralization destabilization crisis 3 4 "normalization". Most actions to demoralize are open, use methods which are legal in the destination country and are not easy to identify, because they extend over very long periods. The fundamental principle of demoralization and destabilization is the judging of the strength of the enemy against itself

Actual or alleged subversion may also be acts such as organized or continued shoplifting, regular fare dodging, painting public spaces, guerrilla communication or property damage if they are committed in whole or among others in the conscious intention of harming the supposed political or social opponents and thus are suitable to undermine the existing order.

In post-structuralist theories (eg, Michel Foucault), the term is used explicitly positive.

In the South American military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, the term " subversive " was used almost indiscriminately as a generic term for all political opponents. This provided the justification for the arrest and murder of tens of thousands (see also The disappeared ).

Subversive argument as a stylistic device

In the rhetoric of the tactics of subversive reasoning therein, inconsistencies and self- contradictions in ideology and argument of the opponent is truthful, but single out obviously and embarrassingly for the opponent way possible. Among other things, the opposing point of view can be defended with obviously bad, but not rejectable by the opponents arguments. This type of reasoning can be found in particular against dogmatic and ideological thoughts buildings application.

Examples of subversive arguments are highlighting self- contradictions in the Bible, or a finding of fact that in certain homeopathic remedies no active ingredients. Voltaire used in his church and religion critical writings extensively subversive pattern of argumentation ( " Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l' inventer. " To German "If God did not exist, would have to invent him. "). An example of the application of subversive methods in a modern debate is the Sokal affair.

Also Jokes / Humor considered a form of subversive reasoning. To this end, George Orwell: " Every joke is a small revolution." Loriot: " Humor arises when order is broken ." Not coincidentally, many felt dictators as subversive jokes and joke teller sentenced to some draconian punishments. In art this was known as the guerrilla communication as an artistic strategy subversion of communication structures. A critical examination of such strategies of over-affirmation and the relationship between art and politics can be found in the collection "Art, Crisis, Subversion. Zur politics of aesthetics " for Subversive Linz09.