Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Looking, Staring and Glaring: Microlegal Systems and World Public Order, 12 Denver Journal of International Law and Policy 165 (1983)


As I stand in a public place, scanning casually but looking at no face for more than a moment, I become fascinated by a particular face. Without quite realizing it, I find that I am studying it intently. Subtly and imperceptibly, looking has modulated to staring. I have no interest in a more expanded exchange with the person I am looking or staring at, and I do not want to be looked at or studied in return. My target senses he is being stared at. (Let us, for the moment, designate the target as masculine to minimize the sexual element, what Freud characterized as "a component of the sexual instinct, schaulust or, in its English rendition, scoptophilia, the instinct of looking;" it is present in all interaction, but as we will see particularly significant in male-female visual exchanges.) How the target senses the staring, I cannot say, but he almost always does. He turns and looks briefly at me. Since his eyes meeting mine are a contact which would require acknowledgment of each other, I and sometimes both of us avert our eyes quickly.

Date of Authorship for this Version