Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others / Edition 1

Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others / Edition 1

by David Livingstone Smith
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St. Martin's Press
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Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others / Edition 1

A revelatory look at why we dehumanize each other, with stunning examples from world history as well as today’s headlines

“Brute.” “Cockroach.” “Lice.” “Vermin.” “Dog.” “Beast.” These and other monikers are constantly in use to refer to other humans—for political, religious, ethnic, or sexist reasons. Human beings have a tendency to regard members of their own kind as less than human. This tendency has made atrocities like the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and the slave trade possible, and yet we still find it in phenomena such as xenophobia, homophobia, military propaganda, and racism. Less Than Human draws on a rich mix of history, psychology, biology, anthropology and philosophy to document the pervasiveness of dehumanization, describe its forms, and explain why we so often resort to it.

David Livingstone Smith posits that this behavior is rooted in human nature, but gives us hope in also stating that biological traits are malleable, showing us that change is possible. Less Than Human is a chilling indictment of our nature, and is as timely as it is relevant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312532727
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/01/2011
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface: Creatures of a Kind Somewhat Inferior 1

Chapter 1 Less Than Human 11

Chapter 2 Steps Toward a Theory of Dehumanization 26

Chapter 3 Caliban's Children 72

Chapter 4 The Rhetoric of Enmity 103

Chapter 5 Learning from Genocide 132

Chapter 6 Race 163

Chapter 7 The Cruel Animal 202

Chapter 8 Ambivalence and Transgression 224

Chapter 9 Questions for a Theory of Dehumanization 263

Appendix I Psychological Essentialism 275

Appendix II Paul Roscoe's Theory of Dehumanization in War 277

Notes 281

Index 317

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