Dehumanization - Animalistic Versus Mechanistic Dehumanization

Animalistic Versus Mechanistic Dehumanization

According to Haslam, the animalistic form of dehumanization occurs when uniquely human characteristics (e.g. refinement, moral sensibility) are denied to an outgroup. People that suffer animalistic dehumanization are seen as immoral, unintelligent, lacking self-control and likened to animals. This has happened with Black Americans in the United States, Jews during the Holocaust, and the Tutsi ethnic group during the Rwandan genocide. While usually employed on an intergroup basis, animalistic dehumanization can occur on an interpersonal basis as well. The mechanistic form occurs when features of human nature (e.g. cognitive flexibility, warmth, agency) are denied to targets. Targets of mechanistic dehumanization are seen as cold, rigid, interchangeable, lacking agency, and likened to machines or objects. Mechanistic dehumanization is usually employed on an interpersonal basis (e.g. when a person is seen as a means to another's end).

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