Dehumanization: Approaches to Indirect Prejudice

607

Abstract

Objective. The presented review aims to describe and critically analyze the two most popular approaches to understanding and operationalizing the concepts of “humanity” and “dehumanization” (Infrahumanization theory and Two-dimensional model of humanness). Background. The studies of prejudice has identified two key problems. The first problem is associated with the limitations of existing theories in understanding the nature of prejudices, and the second — with a low efficiency of assessing blatant prejudice since an increasing spread of egalitarian attitudes in the world changes the intergroup relations and contributes to a transformation of explicit prejudices into indirect forms. The theories and models of dehumanization has become the response to these problems since they offer a new conceptual framework for the analysis of intergroup and interpersonal relationships, and new methods for assessing indirect prejudice that are independent of a social desirability. Conclusions. The results of a theoretical analysis showed that in psychological studies, “humanity” is operationalized either through the unique human emotions and traits, the negation of which leads to the association between certain individuals or groups with animals and the emergence of animalistic dehumanization, or through a description of the “human” prototype, the discrepancy to which is associated with mechanistic dehumanization. Animalistic dehumanization is more common in the context of intergroup relations, and mechanistic dehumanization is more related to the processes of self-perception. Despite the contradictions between different approaches to understanding humanity and dehumanization, as well as some methodological problems within each of them, dehumanization is recognized as an important phenomenon which significantly enriches psychological knowledge and understanding of a process of social cognition and interaction.

General Information

Keywords: dehumanization, prejudice, emotions, groups

Journal rubric: Theoretical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/sps.2021120201

Funding. The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 19-113-50158.

For citation: Agadullina E.R. Dehumanization: Approaches to Indirect Prejudice. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2021. Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 5–22. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2021120201. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Elena R. Agadullina, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, School of Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1505-1412, e-mail: eagadullina@hse.ru

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