When we were discussing Dehumanization yesterday in class, I mentioned a book. I noticed that most of you wrote down the info for it, and I absolutely hope you read it over break; we had such a great discussion on it that I think you would all get a lot out of further study. The book is titled Less than Human and it’s by one of my old professors David L Smith. David’s writing style (much like his lecture style) is very easy to follow, and keeps your attention really well, and the topic in this book is fascinating as well, it’s an interdisciplinary look at dehumanization, so it draws on info way outside of psychology.
Check it out below, here’s an excerpt:
The soldier in the Israeli military Jeep dehumanized his Palestinian targets, and Osama Alfarra and his comrades dehumanized their Israeli enemies. In both examples—and in many, many more that I will describe in this book—a whole group of people is represented as less than human, as a prelude and accompaniment to extreme violence. It’s tempting to see reference to the subaltern other as mere talk, as nothing more than degrading metaphor. I will argue that this view is sorely misguided. Dehumanization isn’t a way of talking. It’s a way of thinking—a way of thinking that, sadly, comes all too easily to us. Dehumanization is a scourge, and has been so for millennia. It acts as a psychological lubricant, dissolving our inhibitions and inflaming our destructive passions. As such, it empowers us to perform acts that would, under other circumstances, be unthinkable. In the pages and chapters to follow, I will do my best to explain what this form of thinking consists in, how it works, and why we so readily slip into it.
And here’s the link to the book website, you can grab this at any bookstore or it’s probably pretty inexpensive on Amazon.