Excluded from the world of men : dehumanisation of victims and perpetrators in the genocidal context

Thumbnail Image
Sustersic, Federica
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Dealing with the issue of dehumanisation in the genocidal context, the thesis will try to demonstrate that this psychological manoeuvre, by depriving a targeted group of people of their humanity, disengages the morality of perpetrators and largely facilitates the perpetration of the most heinous human rights violations. The work will firstly define what dehumanisation means, with a particular focus on its role in the genocidal process. Consequently the mechanisms that allow dehumanisation to occur will be considered, focusing on the dehumanising features of the genocidal ideology and resorting to the Moral Disengagement Theory by Bandura and the Neutralisation Theory by Sykes and Matza. The thesis will then address the dehumanisation at work, investigating how the process impacts the language, the images and also the physical treatment to which the dehumanised group is subjected. Furthermore the dehumanisation of perpetrators will be addressed, interpreting the process as an interpersonal phenomenon that affects all the involved parties. The work will be concluded with some remarks on the need to rehumanise both victims and perpetrators in the wake of mass atrocities. The aim of my research is to explore the issue from a wide perspective and critically reflect on it. I will draw upon different fields of knowledge, especially resorting to sociopsychological, philosophical and criminological approaches.
Second semester University: Maastricht University.
genocide, moral and ethical aspects