Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter we focus on a key sociopsychological mechanism that frees human beings from their normative and moral restrains and therefore leads individuals and groups to engage in acts that intentionally harm others, including discrimination, oppression, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide. Delegitimization is defined as the categorization of a group, or groups, into extremely negative social categories that exclude it, or them, from the sphere of human groups that act within the limits of acceptable norms and/or values, since these groups are viewed as violating basic human norms or values and therefore deserving maltreatment. It thus plays a major role in intense, vicious, violent, and prolonged intergroup conflicts by legitimizing, and allowing the involved group members to carry out, the most immoral acts. In the chapter, we elaborate on our conception of delegitimization, distinguish it from other similar constructs in the literature, and review relevant theoretical and empirical studies that illustrate the utility of the concept in understanding various intergroup practices, particularly behaviors in intergroup conflicts. Second, we describe its roots and development in societies, focusing on the context of intractable conflict. Third, we outline the various sociopsychological negative consequences of delegitimization. Finally, we outline potential ways to reduce delegitimization, focusing on both individual-psychological and collective-structural strategies.

Keywords: Stereotype, delegitimization, dehumanization, conflict, violence, intergroup relations, prejudice

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.