Genocide and mass murder: cultural-social and psychological origins

The outstanding Hungarian born American social psychologist discusses the psychological conditions of genocide in this study which was so successful at the 2nd European Congress of Psychologists. He primarily relies on the experiences of the massacre of the Armenians early this century, the Cambodian reign of terror, the Argentine military dictatorship and the persecution of Jews in fascist Germany. He shows the process by which groups under social frustration get to the relief of murder inhibitions – arriving there step by step from the stage of the devaluation of scapegoat groups -, and on the other hand, he analyses the psychological changes of the "bystanders", as the passivity of these people is an important precondition of carrying out the aggression. At the end, he calls attention to the fact that the same mechanisms can be mobilised against the minority selected to be the scapegoat, be they ethnic, religious or political groups.