Final remarks on focus, limitations, and readership of the individual contributions to the handbook

If one brings together multiple perspectives on complex issues, there will be frictions and disagreements, as well as open issues and limitations. Given the abundance of issues and cases, a focus for the Handbook was necessary. In terms of history, the focus is, as mentioned, on the history of the ‘West,’ with respect to the ‘invention of humanity’ and how dehumanization shows up from the early modern period to the biological anthropologies of the 19th and 2O'h centuries. Systematically, the focus is on specific, selected contexts and issues that relate to the historical, ethical, legal, conceptual, and epistemological issues involved in the wrongdoings that are increasingly often called dehumanizing. Finally, despite the intentionally set foci, 1 am sure I missed something that 1 should not have missed. Since the Handbook is meant to be a new vantage point for further multidisciplinary work on dehumanization, 1 hope that the reader takes it as an invitation to add.

One important limitation not mentioned explicitly in the above (despite the note on valence in Section 1.3) needs to be confronted directly, to prevent misunderstanding. The Handbook does not aim at a discussion as to whether or not dehumanization is morally wrong (and if so, why). The Handbook rather assumes from the start that dehumanization, in the contexts studied here, is to be regarded as morally wrong — simply because, given the historical and systematic focus of the Handbook, the contexts at issue are contexts of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, the question as to why dehumanization is morally wrong shows up occasionally in the Handbook: in Fricks (this volume), Macherys (this volume), and Mikkola’s (this volume) contributions.The same holds for contexts where dehumanization might be regarded as morally neutral or benign (see Heinamaa and Jardine, this volume; Mikkola, this volume), or contexts in which it can be objectively justified to dehumanize the dehumanizer, as discussed in Frick (this volume).This creates a balance and opens a broader horizon, without losing sight of the goal of this Handbook — namely, to first and foremost understand the paradigmatic examples of dehumanization that are broadly accepted as neither morally neutral nor benign or justified.

The Handbook aims to reach professors and graduate students in various fields of the humanities and social sciences — in particular traditional, methodologically oriented fields, such as the history of ideas, history of science and technology, social philosophy, political philosophy, moral philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, epistemology, anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, pedagogy, criminology, legal studies, rhetoric studies, or visual studies. It should also concern scholars in interdisciplinary but topic-oriented and newer academic areas, such as inequality studies, gender studies, disability studies, racism studies, genocide studies, Holocaust studies,animal studies, science studies, and so on. It should also appeal to readers from social work and political activism, as well as to those in public policy that regulate our social interactions as part of their work in those social institutions that structure our life.

Overview of chapter content

Chapter 1. Maria Kronfeldner’s Introduction maps the landscape of dehumanization studies. She starts with a brief portrayal of the history of the field. The systematically minded sections that follow guide the reader through the resulting rugged landscape represented in the Handbook’s contributions. Different realizations, levels, forms, and ontological contrasts of dehumanization are distinguished, followed by remarks on the variety of targets of dehumanization. A discussion on valence and emotional aspects is added. Causes, functions, and consequences of dehumanization, and the prospects for reducing or undoing it, are introduced. The systematic overview closes with a discussion of some important theoretical complexities that arise in studying dehumanization. After these systematic sections, the scholarly work on dehumanization gets situated in the broader intellectual landscape of debates about the ‘human’ in the humanities and social sciences.The Introduction ends with some notes on scope, limitations, and intended readership of the Handbook.

Chapter 2. Siep Stuurman discusses four dimensions of dehumanization in history: the civilized versus the savage; the adherents of “true” religions versus the unbelievers; the home community versus its enemies; and the gender dimension, ranking men as “more human” than women. The main cases discussed are the invention of the savage in Homers Odyssey; the Aristotelian notion of natural slavery; the extermination of the Melians by the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War; the dehumanizing treatment of enemies and captives by the Romans and their use as “circus animals” in the spectacles in the arena; the idea and practice of “holy war” by the monotheist religions resulting in their fateful practice of an exclusionary universalism; the Sinocentric worldview in the Chinese Empire giving rise to culturalist and racialist visions of the “barbarians” and resulting in different degrees of dehumanization in the Han,Tang, and Ming dynasties; and, finally, gender: women are seen as human, but compared to men theirs is a deficient humanity. To avoid an overly monolithic picture, discourses of common humanity and equality are briefly discussed as counterpoints to dehumanization.

Chapter 3. Lâszlô Kontler sketches an analytical scheme for investigating the development of notions of “humanity” (mankind, humanité, Menschheit) in modern European culture as a context for the study of dehumanization. He argues that the consideration of the diversity versus unity, and diversity within unity, of mankind was determined by 16th and 17,h-century versions of three important interpretive frameworks: the temporalization of human difference, the historicization of nature, and steps toward the naturalization of man. Against this background, the Chapter offers an overview of the redrawing of the boundaries of the human in response to the experience of European penetration into other world regions, and internal intellectual developments from the Reformation through the revival of philosophical skepticism and the rise of the new science, to modern natural law. Throughout, thinking the human and dehumanization as its corollary were responding to particular experiences and developing within the three patterns of thought mentioned above. The quest for humanity remained a thoroughly contingent pursuit, and “mankind” an unstable notion, over several centuries of intense European engagement with the subject.

Chapter 4. Silvia Sebastiani addresses what the ‘orangutan’ contributes to our understanding of Enlightenment ‘science of man.’ How was knowledge of apes related to the conceptualization of humanity? In what sense, and to what extent, could the humanization of the ape affect the dehumanization of the human being? Her chapter deals with the multiple uses to which the orangutan was put during the 18th century, with a specific focus on Britain. Travelers, physicians, natural historians, and lawyers, while reshaping the boundaries between humans and apes, also divided human beings into different ‘races.’ What she tries to show in the chapter is an entwined process: the humanization of the orangutan went hand in hand with the dehumanization of a part of humankind. At the same time as the human/animal divide loosened, the divide between human races sharpened and crystallized. From that time until today, human and social sciences have repeatedly challenged and reconceptualized the human/animal divide and the ‘race question.’ She contends that a longer chronology provides a more nuanced and complex understanding of this persistent problem in conceptualizing humanity.

Chapter 5. Guido Abbattista presents a metanarrative of the living ethnic exhibitions from the point of view of their dehumanizing forms and effects. This phenomenon is analyzed through the constitutive aspects of its 19th- and early 20,h-century variations, drawing a distinction between and exploring the features of the older form of the ‘freak shows’ and the modern version in the developing Western mass-communication society, public entertainments, business, and popular racism. The living ethnic exhibitions are illustrated in their complex relationships with science, public opinion, national identity building, and current ideas of civilization and historical time. Their contradictory and conflictual aspects are highlighted by taking into consideration the organizers’ intentions, the public’s reaction, and the protagonists’ behavior, showing how inadequate simplistic interpretations of a multifaceted phenomenon are. Finally, the chapter follows the history of living ethnic exhibitions until very recent times, suggesting that those forms of public spectacles, even if they have certainly changed in terms of features, contexts, and aims, have not completely disappeared to the extent that the Western treatment of human diversities still reveals exoticist, essentialist, racist, and dehumanizing attitudes.

Chapter 6. Johannes Steizinger explores the ideological dimension of dehumanization in the context of National Socialism, focusing on the connection between concepts of humanity and dehumanizing images. National Socialism regarded itself as a political revolution, realizing a new concept of humanity. Nazi ideologues undergirded the self-understanding of National Socialism by developing racist anthropologies. The chapter examines two major strands of Nazi ideology, focusing on their diverging strategies of dehumanization, and arguing that they were dependent on different anthropological frameworks. Richard Walther Darre held a naturalistic concept of humanity and advanced biologistic forms of dehumanization. Alfred Rosenberg developed a dualistic anthropology that combined metaphysical and natural features. He dehumanized certain groups of people by reducing them to being human in a natural sense only. Moreover, Steizinger aims to show that the key motifs of these racist worldviews were prevalent in the scientific and philosophical debates on anthropology in early 2O'h-century Germany. He thus explores the general orientation of both the naturalistic and the anti-naturalistic strand in anthropological thought, unfolds the animalizing tendencies of these views, and emphasizes their conformity’ with the key motifs of Nazi ideology'. The case of National Socialism should thus exemplify the dehumanizing potential of anthropological theories.

Chapter 7. Erika Lorraine Milam argues that historians can better understand the intricate history by which accusations of “zoomorphism,’’“biological determinism,” and “dehumanization” came to prominence in postwar and Cold War evolutionary theory by attending to changing definitions of what scientists meant by the phrase “human nature.” After the Second World War, biologists and anthropologists were keen to reconstruct the progressive evolutionary process by which humans had become truly human, and crafted a version of humanity’s past that led to an anti-racist present. During the 1960s and 1970s, a new generation of scientists writing for colloquial audiences imbued this new universal human nature with inhumanity, as Milam shows, speculating that in learning how to kill each other, humanity’s ancestors had sparked a series of physical and intellectual changes crucial to understanding modern humanity. Critics skeptical of this dark vision of anthropogenesis besmirched such theories as zoomorphic. When Edward O. Wilson then published Sociobiology in 1975, the outcry from his colleagues was shaped by their reactions to these earlier theories. Critics of the biological basis of human behavior mobilized a new descriptor—biological determinism—to conjoin their concerns over sexism, racism, and classism under this new conceptual umbrella. They suggested that comparisons to animal behavior could never capture the full scope of human nature, even if animals were used as foils to illuminate the fully human. In the 1980s, scientists linked earlier concerns with zoomorphism and biological determinism to emergent worries about dehumanization in late-Cold War evolutionary theory.

Chapter 8. Nick Haslam traces the recent history of dehumanization scholarship and maps its current contours, in which psychology plays a dominant role. Over the past two decades in particular, dehumanization has emerged as a major focus of theoretical and empirical attention within that discipline. That focus has been especially keen in social psychology, the subdiscipline which addresses the embeddedness of human behavior in its interpersonal and group contexts. The social psychology' literature on dehumanization is complex and expansive; and the chapter demonstrates some of the benefits, challenges, and limitations of investigating dehumanization through the lens of quantitative behavioral science. Haslam’s overview summarizes the history of the research tradition in psychology; the theoretical frameworks that have been elaborated; the wide range of definitions, conceptualizations, and measures that have been developed; the many topic domains that have been explored; and what the research purports to tell us about the causes and consequences of dehumanization. The chapter concludes with a discussion of four concerns raised by the current state of psychological research on dehumanization, and how they might be addressed within the emerging multidisciplinary field of dehumanization studies. The chapter pays special and repeated attention to the issue of breadth: the definitional, theoretical, methodological, and substantive diversity of existing work in the field of social psychology, the fact that this diversity is growing, and the difficulties this expansion may generate.

Chapter 9. Edouard Machery starts with the assumption that dehumanization often involves a license to harm the dehumanized individuals. Because they are not humans, not full humans, deficient humans, or subhumans, dehumanized individuals can be harmed in a way that is not permissible with (full) human beings. That is, when people deliberate about what can be done to others, dehumanized individuals do not figure in their deliberation the way fully human individuals do; they are deprived of their moral standing. Machery s contribution examines /iou> people can be deprived of their moral standing. Recent work in psychology and experimental philosophy suggests that moral standing is attributed to creatures that display one of two characteristics: agency and experience. Historical episodes of dehumanization illustrate how dehumanization often involves the denial of agency and experience.

Chapter 10. Alice Crary works across a number of literatures—from moral philosophy, including animal ethics, to post-humanism, critical race theory, post-colonial theory, feminist theory, social philosophy, and liberal political theory—in discussing how the dehumanization of human beings and the hatred of animals are intertwined. Her guiding claim is that productive efforts to combat the subjugation of human groups need to challenge normative hierarchies that give animals lower moral standing. The chapter opens by mentioning some of the many—historical and current—patterns of belief and practice in which groups of humans are subjugated by means of invidious comparisons to animals. Critics of “animalizing ideologies” frequently insist, in a manner that reinscribes the ideologies’ debasement of animals, that the targeted humans are superior to animals. This is unsurprising given the millennia-long history of conceiving human dignity as a matter of placement above the condition of animals. Nonetheless, the move ought to seem objectionable to activists and scholars who protest the animalization of human groups, not out of concern for animals, but solely because they believe in human moral equality. If left in place, images of animals as lesser beings saddle us with normative hierarchies that encourage further ideologies targeting vulnerable humans. So, Crary claims, preoccupation with the humans harmed by dehumanization through animalization ought to prompt us to inquire into the possibility of an account of animal moral standing that is consistent with—human—egalitarianism.

Chapter 11. Robert A. Wilson treats dehumanization as a useful concept for understanding disability and eugenics and the relationship between them. His chapter provides a broad overview of the history of eugenics and the contemporary significance of both that history and eugenics itself with an eye to exploring the centrality of disability. After reprising the history of eugenics up until 1945 and outlining the ideas at the core of eugenics, he focuses in the remainder of the chapter on the perhaps surprisingly large part of that history that comes after 1945 and why dehumanization remains an unfortunately continuing issue for people living under regimes of ableism today across a variety of contexts. As he claims, eugenic and newgenic thinking continue to structure the challenges that people with disabilities, especially cognitive and psychiatric disabilities, face in a world with enhanced capacity for technological intervention in reproductive decision-making.

Chapter 12. Marie-Luisa Frick discusses the connection to human rights, defined as rights that people are entitled to simply because they are “human.” Although opening up a wide array of moral deliberation on the content and scope of certain rights—their mutual restrictions and the duties they imply as well as their concretization for certain groups of people—the principle right to have rights cannot be questioned without undermining the concept of human rights as such. Practices of and rationales for treating others as not (fully) human amount to exclusions preceding any infringements of particular human rights, stripping certain (groups of) individuals of their very human rights subjectivity. Being able to discern manifestations of such fundamental exclusions and to distinguish them from other (“lesser”) forms of rights violations is indispensable for purposes of human rights protections and advancement. Frick is particularly interested in the following question: When are people genuinely dehumanized and not merely discriminated against? Assuming that potential threats of dehumanization do not only come from “outside” human rights but already are invested in the idea of human rights as such, she also investigates the modes of dehumanization tied to definitions of the “human” in human rights.

Chapter 13. Luigi Corrias’s contribution discusses dehumanization by legal means. While the law is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for dehumanization, Corrias’s chapter shows that dehumanization by law can be an important step in a dehumanization process.The chapter introduces the concept of legal dehumanization and discusses the closely related anthropology' of modern law. A legal act is dehumanizing if and only if it is an indefensible infringement of legal values, where this infringement constitutes a violation of an individual or a group of people in their status of a full juridical person, making it possible to treat the victim(s) as subhuman. It also studies a number of cases in which legal dehumanization occurred, more specifically the Nuremberg laws, the apartheid regime of South Africa, and the torture memos. Finally, Corrias will look into the question how legal dehumanization might be reversed.

Chapter 14. Andrea Timar engages with literary representations of the experience of perpetrators of dehumanization. Her chapter focuses on perpetrators of dehumanization who do not violate laws of their society (i.e., they are not criminals) but exemplify what Simona Ford, inspired by Hannah Arendt, calls “the normality of evil.” Through the parallel examples of Dezso Kosztolanyi’s Anna Edes (1926) and Doris Lessings The Grass is Singing (1950), Timar first explores a possible clash between criminals and perpetrators of dehumanization, showing literature’s exceptional ability to reveal the gap between ethics and law. Second, she examines novels focalized through perpetrators and the difficult narrative empathy they provoke, arguing that only the critical reading of these novels can make one engage with the potential perpetrator in oneself. As case studies, Timar examines Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), which may potentially turn its reader into an accomplice in the process of dehumanization, and J.M. Coetzees Foe (1986), which puts on critical display the dehumanizing potentials of both aesthetic representation and sympathy as imaginative violence. Third, she reads Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones [Lt*s Bienveillantes, 2006], which can make the reader question, through the polyphony of the voice of its protagonist, the notions of narrative voice and readerly empathy, only to reveal that the difficulty involved in empathizing with perpetrator characters lies not so much in the characters’ being perpetrators, but rather in their being literary characters. Eventually, Timar briefly touches upon the problem of the aesthetic and the comic via Nabokovs Lolita (1955) to ask whether one can avoid some necessarily dehumanizing aspects of humor.

Chapter 15. Wulf D. Hund addresses the long history of racism, and how its different forms of discrimination against‘barbaric,’‘impure,’‘pagan,’‘savage,’ and ‘racialized’‘others’ went along with various forms of dehumanization. The leveling of the social differentiation of its victims was common to all of these processes. The others were treated as an amorphous mass ofinferior others. In comparison to them, the members of hierarchically structured societies could (and still can) imagine themselves as a superior community. This form of a shared identity does not delete the conditions of social domination and subordination in racist societies. As negative societalization, it establishes social affiliation by the degradation and exclusion of racially stigmatized others. The chapter discusses this correlation using the examples of four different forms of racist discrimination: ancient slavery, early modern antisemitism, enlightened race theory, and racist fascism.

Chapter 16. Susan T. Fiske discusses the stereotype content model, which explores varieties of dehumanizing prejudice that all deny other people their full humanity, diminishing them by reducing them to animals, robots, or objects. Each inflicts its own distinct damage. This chapter offers the stereotype content model as a framework for understanding this. As the chapter argues, cultures share knowable dimensions for differentiating societal groups. Among them are groups’ status and interdependence (cooperation and competition). Groups’ perceived place in the social structure then predicts their stereotype content; status predicts competence, and cooperation predicts warmth.The stereotype content model locates a society’s perceptions of its groups in a warmth-by-competence space. For example, homeless people are allegedly neither competent nor warm (not trustworthy, sociable); they are dehumanized as disgusting and animalistic. Older people are seen as well-intentioned (warm) but incompetent; they are dehumanized as passive objects that evoke pity. Rich people are stereotypically competent but cold, enviable, yet evoking robots. Only the society’s ingroup is fully human, both competent and warm.This chapter also describes the nature of current evidence for the model from surveys and lab experiments. Many examples come from the extreme outgroups, the most dehumanized. Having summarized what the model says about dehumanization, the next section addresses what alternative theories have to say, and comments on points of consensus about the two primary dimensions and their nature.The closing sections discuss implications for dehumanization and interventions to rehumanize its targets.

Chapter 17. Stephanie Demoulin, Pierre Maurage, and Florence Stinglhamber take issue with the fact that dehumanization studies have largely focused on the perpetrator’s side of the interaction. In contrast, little is known about victims’ experiences of dehumanization instances—that is, metadehumanization—and about people’s propensity to self-dehumanize. In their chapter, they review the literature on dehumanization from a victim’s perspective and present a theoretical working model linking metadehumanization and self-dehumanization. According to this model, when interpersonal, situational, environmental, or cultural antecedents trigger the thwarting of a person’s fundamental needs, that person is likely to experience metadehumanization. The latter, in turn, leads to self-dehumanization to the extent that it is experienced as a situational and cross-interlocutors pervasive phenomenon. In addition, self-dehumanization can also result from the recognition of one’s immoral acts. The chapter ends with a discussion on the future of both self-dehumanization and metadehumanization research, and, centrally, on the need to systematize research theorizing and methods, and to explore underlying mechanisms of both processes.

Chapter 18. Victoria M. Esses, Stelian Medianu, and Alina Sutter are concerned with the fact that refugees tend to be the targets of dehumanization, which may function to justify the poor treatment and exclusion that they face. In their chapter, they discuss the refugee situation worldwide and the need for global involvement in refugee protection.They link this focus on refugees to the concept of dehumanization and discuss how common media portrayals of refugees— including their depiction as bogus claimants who cheat to gain entry to Western countries, and as terrorists who are a threat to receiving nations—may lead to the dehumanization of these individuals, which may, in turn, lead to their negative treatment and rejection.They then discuss the potential for the rehumanization of refugees, and the role of humanization in promoting fair treatment. This includes work on how system-sanctioned positive messages from political leaders can support the rehumanization of refugees and their asylum in Western nations.They conclude by discussing the implications of this work, and the need for further research in this area as a contribution to ameliorating the “refugee crisis.”

Chapter 19. Maria Paola Paladino, Jeroen Vaes, and Jolanda Jetten start with the case of the social robot named Sophia, a highly sophisticated android, which was invited to join a meeting organized by the UN in 2017. Its appearance is that of a young woman; in addition, Sophia appears to be able to hold a conversation and display appropriate emotional reactions. Social robots such as Sophia generally elicit contrasting emotions: pride for the technological success that we as humans have reached goes hand in hand with fears and concerns that come with the idea that those mechanical agents—that look and behave as human—will soon be part of our everyday interactions. Relying on research in social psychology' and on the uncanny “valley phenomenon” (introduced by Mori, 1970), this chapter focuses on those fears and explores the role that the resemblance of robots to humans—that is, “robot humanization”—might play. In the first part, the possibility that fears regarding the entrance of social robots into society at large are linked to the potential threat they pose to our conception of humanness and of the human identity are discussed. In the second part of their chapter, the perspective changes to focus on the limits of our cognitive system in dealing with high-humanlike robots, like androids. Focusing on recent research on the uncanny valley, they discuss the possibility that negative emotional reactions to androids are the result of more complex processing of high-humanlike mechanical agents. The chapter ends by discussing some of the societal implications of these two perspectives.

Chapter 20. Sara Heinamaa and James Jardine demonstrate that both classical and existential phenomenology offer analytical concepts that are of crucial pertinence and value to contemporary dehumanization research. They begin by outlining an account of dehumanization that distinguishes this phenomenon both from the general operation of objectification and from the violation of autonomy. What is essential to dehumanizing acts and practices they argue, is not objectification or the violation of autonomy per se, but rather a disregard for, and undermining of, the unique singularity of human persons. Moreover, it is proposed that dehumanization ought to be theorized as an intersubjective process that also incorporates how the dehumanizing activity is experienced by the person dehumanized. Two concrete cases of dehumanizing treatment are then discussed in detail: colonial racism and gender hierarchization. The analytical concepts of inferiorization, epidermalization, and emotive projection are introduced to account for some of the specific features of these varieties of dehumanization. The chapter thus argues that dehumanization is not one unified phenomenon but a pattern of social dynamics that emerges in different guises relative to specific practical and historical contexts.

Chapter 21. Mari Mikkola starts with the observation that dehumanization seemingly involves a complex of the following: an assault on human dignity, treating someone as a something or reducing someone to something, comparison of human beings to animals and inanimate objects, denial of agency and distinctly human capabilities, and a psychological attitude of conceiving others as subhuman. Feminist philosophical discussions commonly treat dehumanization and objectification as being largely equivalent. Mikkola s chapter outlines how this connectedness between dehumanization and objectification is usually understood, and then challenges the equation. In short, there is a difference between treating someone literally as something and treating them as if they are something, where the latter presupposes a prior recognition of another’s humanity to be reduced while the former does not. The chapter then advances two central views. First, we should not treat prominent feminist accounts of objectification as equivalent to dehumanization. Second, there is an odd ‘paradox of dehumanization,’ which ill fits these accounts of objectification: for dehumanization to involve denial of or disrespect toward important person-related capacities, one must first attribute those capacities to others in order to deny or disrespect them—one must acknowledge the humanity of another in order to dehumanize them.This further demonstrates that dehumanization is not equivalent to objectification.

Chapter 22. Thomas Brudholm and Johannes Lang explore the relationship between hatred and dehumanization. They ask: what are the hateful aspects of dehumanization and the dehumanizing elements of hate? Is it conceivable that one can exist without the other? They consider three possible constellations: dehumanizing hatred, dehumanization devoid of hatred, and hatred without dehumanization. The analysis draws on a diverse and interdisciplinary range of sources, from the psychology of mass violence and the philosophy of emotion to victim testimony and interviews with perpetrators of genocide. But, while the philosophical reflections stay close to concrete examples, the main purpose is conceptual: to engage with different ways of thinking about hatred, dehumanization, and how they might relate. The authors argue against recent scholarship that in problematic ways seems to reduce the complexity of hatred and dehumanization. They object to claims that hatred is inherently dehumanizing, as well as to arguments which imply that dehumanization and hatred are mutually exclusive. Such claims, the authors conclude, lead to truncated views of hatred and dehumanization that either exaggerate or obscure the importance of these phenomena in the history of violence. Ultimately, their critical engagement with the literature leads Brudholm and Lang beyond a strictly phenomenological and conceptual discussion, and the chapter ends with normative reflections on the moral character of hate with or without dehumanization. For, can hatred, despite its dangerous and dehumanizing potentials, ever be part of a morally permissible or even virtuous response to dehumanization?

Chapter 23. David Livingstone Smith addresses two important problems with the claim that we dehumanize others by conceiving of them as subhuman animals. “The problem of humanity,” is that dehumanizers implicitly or explicitly acknowledge the humanity of those whom they ostensibly regard as subhumans. “The problem of monstrosity,” is that dehumanizers often characterize those whom they dehumanize not merely as subhuman animals, but as monstrous entities. Drawing on work in psychology, anthropology, and philosophy, Smith argues that the recognition of dehumanized people’s humanity and their transformation into monsters are both consequences of dehumanizers’ representations of them as human and subhuman simultaneously, and that this is caused by our automatic psychological disposition to recognize humanness conjoined with our tendency to epistemically defer to authority figures who tell us that some others are, despite appearances, subhuman animals.

Chapter 24. Maria Kronfeldner discusses whether psychological essentialism is a necessary part of dehumanization. This involves different elements of essentialism, and a narrow and a broad way of conceptualizing psychological essentialism, the first akin to natural kind thinking, the second based on entitativity. She first presents authors that have connected essentialism with dehumanization. She then introduces the error theory of psychological essentialism regarding the category of the human, and distinguishes different elements of psychological essentialism. On that basis, Kronfeldner connects historical, socio-psychological, and philosophical insights in order to show that although essentialism can act as a catalyst for dehumanization, it is not necessary for it. Examples relate to dehumanization in the context of colonialism and evolutionary thinking, to the history of dehumanizing women from Aristotle to 19th-century craniology, and to contemporary self-dehumanization and ‘lesser mind’ attribution.

Chapter 25. Somogy Varga introduces three ideas to which a large part of the contemporary literature on dehumanization is committed to: first, dehumanization involves some degree of denial of humanness; second, such denial is to be comprehended in mental terms; and, third, whatever exact mechanisms underlie the denial of humanness, they belong in the realm of post-perceptual processing. He then examines the third idea and argues that the awareness of minds might belong to perceptual processing. This paves the way for the possibility that dehumanization might, at least in part, be a perceptual phenomenon, such that dehumanizers visually perceive the dehumanized as exhibiting lesser-than-human minds.


  • 1 For details about her respective philosophical theories, see Lang (2017), Corrias (2016, Corrias, this volume), Frick (2019, this volume).
  • 2 See Kronfeldner (this volume) on how Allport is relevant with respect to essentialism and dehumanization; see Brudholm and Lang (this volume) on how Goffman’s concept of stigma enters.
  • 3 Military funding for psychology (including social psychology) has not been low during the Cold War era, at least not in the United States, where most of the authors working on dehumanization were based at that time. See Morawski and Bayer (2013), for evidence regarding social psycholog)'
  • 4 See Opotow (2011: 213) for review and explicit use of this tripartite distinction.
  • 5 See Haslam (2006), Haslam et al. (2007), Haslam and Loughnan (2014), Haslam and Stratemeyer (2016), and Haslam (this volume).
  • 6 With Paladino,Vaes, and Demoulin among the coauthors; see their contributions in this volume.
  • 7 See Knobe and Prinz (2008), Sytsma and Machery (2012), Figdor (2018), Machery (this volume), and Varga (this volume).
  • 8 See, for instance, Straus (2006) on the Rwandian genocide and Theriault (2007) on the Armenian genocide. Many more could be added here; some mention dehumanization only in passing; e.g., Hinton (2013) on the Cambodian genocide.
  • 9 See Schiebinger (1993), Sebastian! (2013, 2016, this volume).
  • 10 See Pagden (1982),Jahoda (1998), Buchan and Andersson (2019), and Kontler (this volume).
  • 11 See Abulafia (2008) and Stuurman (2017, this volume).
  • 12 See Corbey (2005), Hund et al. (2016), and Sebastiani (2016, this volume).
  • 13 See Abbattista (2011,2013, 2014, this volume) and Blanchard et al. (2011).
  • 14 See Gould (1987), Schiebinger (1993),Tuana (1993), Kontler (this volume), Kronfeldner (this volume), and Sebastiani (2016, this volume).
  • 15 For philosophy, see Taylor (1994), Honneth (1992), or Fraser (2000); see Demoulin et al. (this volume) on how it is studied as part of social psychology.
  • 16 See Bleiker et al. (2013) and Musolff (2015) for media studies, and Tirrell (2012, 2018), Stanley (2017), andjeshion (2018) for philosophy of language.
  • 17 See LeMoncheck (1985), Nussbaum (1995a), Langton (2009),Vaes et al. (2011), Mikkola (2011,2016), Manne (2016, 2018), and Tipler and Ruscher (2019). Mikkola (this volume) summarizes the debates.
  • 18 See Kittay (2009), O’Brien (2013), Keith and Keith (2013), and Crary (2016, 2018, this volume).
  • 19 See Sebastiani (2013, this volume), Steizinger (2018, this volume), and Kronfeldner (2018, this volume).
  • 20 See Haslam (this volume), Demoulin et al. (this volume), Fiske (this volume), Machery (this volume), and Varga (this volume).
  • 21 See Esses et al. (2001,2013); see Esses et al. (this volume).
  • 22 See, for instance, Fontesse et al. (2019), Luna et al. (2019).
  • 23 See Capozza et al. (2016), Crary (2016, 2018, this volume), and Wilson (2018, this volume).
  • 24 See, for instance, Wiener et al. (2014).
  • 25 See, Harris and Fiske (2006); Fiske (this volume).
  • 26 See, for instance, Fasoli et al. (2016).
  • 27 See, for instance, Costello and Hodson (2014) or McLoughlin and Over (2017).
  • 28 See also Brudholm (2015) on monstrification as a key form of dehumanization in genocides, building on Zizek (2005) and others.
  • 29 See Brudholm (2010) for an in-depth discussion of the concept of hatred.
  • 30 See Costello and Hodson (2010) or Vaes et al. (2010) for how it connects to dehumanization.
  • 31 See also Harris (2017) on neurology; dehumanization, and flexibility.
  • 32 See Lang (2010, 2017, 2020), Theriault (2007), Weissmann (2015), Manne (2016, 2018), Steizinger (2018), and Enock et al. (draft). See also Brudholm and Lang (this volume), Mikkola (this volume), and Steizinger (this volume).
  • 33 See Henrich et al. (2010) on such cultural relativity.
  • 34 See Haraway (1991), Hayles (1999), Esposito (2014), and Peterson (2018).
  • 35 See Antony (1998, 2000) for a classic take on that; see Donnelly (2013) or Frick (2019) for overview.
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