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This is a card I cut a couple years ago when I was worse at research but maybe helpful.


Vasiljevic and Viki 2013

(Milica Vasiljevic, Research Associate in the Behaviour and Health Research Unit, and G.

Tendayi Viki, author and consultant with a PhD in Psychology and an MBA, 2013, “

Dehumanization, moral disengagement, and public attitudes to crime and punishment,”

University of Kent, https://kar.kent.ac.uk/35378/1/Vasiljevic%20%26%20Viki%20-


An interesting question to examine concerns the potential consequences of dehumanization with regards to the

perceptions and treatment of others. Perceiving particular groups or individuals as subhuman can form the basis

for justifying social and moral exclusion (Bar-Tal, 1990; Opotow, 1990; Staub, 1989). Early social psychological writings

on dehumanization and mass violence identified two aspects of humanity: “identity” and “community” (Kelman, 1973). According to Kelman,

an individual who is given identity is distinguished in his own right from others, and is given the

right to make choices and live by their values. Furthermore, such an individual is considered part of a larger

community of individuals who respect each other’s rights. This humanized individual is not viewed as a potential target for negative treatment. In contrast, the negative treatment of an individual who is

perceived as lacking in identity and community is highly likely. Kelman and other scholars such as Bar-

Tal (1990), Opotow (1990), and Staub (1989), connected this dehumanization of victims to mass atrocities,

such as genocide and ethnic cleansing. According to Bandura (1990a; 1990b), dehumanization is one of the factors

related to moral disengagement, allowing people to justify negative behavior against particular targets. Such moral

exclusion can facilitate aggression because dehumanized targets are viewed as being

outside the moral boundaries of society (Opotow, 1990). Consistent with this argument, Baumeister, Stillwell and

Heatherton (1994) propose that the dehumanization of victims may inhibit feelings of guilt and distress

about any harm inflicted. Recent empirical studies have demonstrated the negative consequences of dehumanization. For example, Cuddy, Rock,

and Norton (2007) found that people were less willing to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, to the extent that they perceived them as less human.

Similarly, Zebel, Zimmermann, Viki and Doosje (2008) found that people were less likely to feel guilty about wrongs

perpetrated by their ingroup against an outgroup, if they perceived the outgroup as less

human than their ingroup. Taking these findings further, Leidner, Castano, Zaiser, and Giner-Sorolla (2010), found that moral

disengagement strategies of which dehumanization is part, are used as psychological

mechanisms that allow individuals to distance themselves from past ingroup violence, and

lead to a decreased willingness to punish ingroup perpetrators and offer compensation to ingroup victims.

Overall, research so far strongly demonstrates that dehumanization inhibits the experience of moral emotions

and increases the likelihood of negative behavior towards certain groups and individuals (see also Castano & Giner-

Sorolla, 2006; Tam et al., 2007, Vaes, Paladino, Castelli, Leyens, & Giovanazzi, 2003)





Edit: would probably be good to modify for gendered language, but I can't do that easily on my phone.

Edited by TheSnowball
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Does anyone have a generic card saying that dehumanization is the worst form of violence or something like that?

Labeling oppression as dehumanization reinscribes the species divide and undermines anti-racist and anti-sexist movements.

Adams (feminist and animal rights advocate; Masters of Divinity from Yale ’76) 94

(Carol J., 
Neither man nor beast : feminism and the defense of animals, pg. 76-7)


It is conventionally said that oppression dehumanizes, that it reduces humans to animal status. But oppression cannot dehumanize animals. Animals exist categorically as that which is not human; they are not acknowledged as having human qualities that can then be denied. The presumption of an ontological absence of such human qualities has a priori defined animals as nonhuman.

Resistance against oppression for humans involves recognizing and preserving their "humanity." But, it is a humanity established through a form of negating: just as white Americans knew they were free by the presence of enslaved blacks, so oppressed humans affirm their humanity by proclaiming their distance from the animals whom they are compared to, treated like, but never truly are. A litany of protests erupt from those struggling against oppression, proclamations that assert "we are not beasts, we are humans, not animals!" Given the anthropocentric nature of Western culture's primary conceptualizations, this response is not surprising. As I indicated in the preface, this has been an assertion upon which feminists early staked their appeal for our rights and freedom.

Racist and sexist attitudes expose an elastic, mobile species definition that always advantages elite white males by positioning others as almost beasts. Will antiracist and anti-sexist theory so conclusively accept the inescapable anthropocentricity of the human/animal divide that the re- sult will be a fixed species definition that clearly demarcates once and for all humans as human beings, thus tacitly but firmly positioning all other animals as "animals"? Consider the synonyms for beast offered by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Third Edition): "brute, animal, brutish, brutal, beastly, beastial. These adjec- tives apply to what is more characteristic of lower animals than of hu- man beings." Will oppositional movements insure that these adjectives always apply only to animals, and thus inscribe as well the hierarchy that positions animals as lower?

Edited by PopcornCzar
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