Dynamics of Human Growth,  Mental Health,  Psychology

Losing Our Humanity: The Self-Dehumanizing Consequences of Social Ostracism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

This article was reviewed by Truphosah Fridah Monah, Counseling Psychologist.

This article talks about dehumanization among people in the society. When people dehumanize others, they also dehumanize the self while responding to their harmful behaviors. When an individual is a perpetrator of social ostracism, one sees themselves as less human compared with when they engage in non-aversive interpersonal interactions due to the perceived immorality of their behavior. On the other hand, when an individual perpetrates social ostracism they see themselves as less human. Consequences of self-dehumanization are independent of any effects of self-esteem or mood of the person. In the human society, our humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with each other.

When an individual dehumanizes the other, they inexorably dehumanize themselves. This is from the spirit of “Ubuntu” where it states that “I am because we are” meaning that we cannot exist independent of our relationships with others. We need others and also we need to feel that they are human so that we also feel human and complete. This in other words means that the moment we harm others, our humanity is reduced due to treating others without dignity and respect.

Inhuman acts affect both the victim and the perpetrator, when people hurt or harm others, they are seen to be less humans who cannot stand being human enough and uphold dignity and respect for themselves and others thus making them less good to be rehabilitated. An observer of the dehumanizing acts sees the perpetrators as dangerous, irrevocable, and worthy of retribution because causing harm to another person may also affect perceptions of the self.

What many fail to understand from this kind of an approach is that one’s humanity is dependent on the humanity of those around us. And very little is known and said about the self-concept of perpetrators of dehumanization where self-dehumanization which is the mistreatment of others is seen to be a normal response. When an individual comes to term with their dehumanizing acts, there is a functional response that comes from them.

When one feels that they have lost their humanity, they may be motivated to engage in a prosocial way with others thereby reconnecting them back into their human community and re-establishing their moral status. The common belief that is one sided when it comes to dehumanization makes us overlook the need of perpetrators for psychosocial rehabilitation. They too are empty and need to be filled with desire for self-love and self-respect.

The author of the article is

Bastian B.; Jetten J.; Chen H.; Radke M. R. H.; Harding F. J.; Fasoli F. (2012). Losing Our     Humanity: The Self-Dehumanizing Consequences of Social Ostracism. Personality and  Social Psychology Bulletin 39(2) 156–169 DOI:            10.1177/0146167212471205

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *