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Publisher's Summary

An award-winning author and philosopher, Smith takes an unflinching look at the mechanisms of the mind that encourage us to see someone as less than human. There is something peculiar and horrifying in human psychology that makes us vulnerable to thinking of whole groups of people as subhuman creatures. When governments or other groups stand to gain by exploiting this innate propensity, and know just how to manipulate words and images to trigger it, there is no limit to the violence and hatred that can result.

Drawing on numerous historical and contemporary cases and recent psychological research, On Inhumanity is the first accessible guide to the phenomenon of dehumanization. Smith walks listeners through the psychology of dehumanization, revealing its underlying role in both notorious and lesser-known episodes of violence from history and current events.

On Inhumanity is bracing and vital listen in a world lurching towards authoritarian political regimes, resurgent white nationalism, refugee crises that breed nativist hostility, and fast-spreading racist rhetoric. The book will open your eyes to the pervasive dangers of dehumanization and the prejudices that can too easily take root within us, and resist them before they spread into the wider world.

©2020 Oxford University Press (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Jan Goericke
  • 15-01-2021

A must-read introduction to dehumanization

This book clearly defined dehumanization and separates it from related topic such as racism, sexism, ableism, etc. It provides a template of identifying the beginning of dehumanization on oneself and in one's environment. A must-read during times of rising populism and authoritarianism.

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