Dehumanization is a complex, relational and subjective phenomenon. Studies on it primarily focus on how it enables abuse in the midst of conflict, or how it shapes perceptions of others. Scholars, however, have not deconstructed it into components. The current article breaks down dehumanization into three components: elements, characteristics, and dimensions. It is hoped that the discussion of the connection between the three can encourage additional discussions on how each of the components contributes to dehumanization and how that can help towards undermining it. Until the phenomenon is understood from its most basic to its most elaborate parts, undermining dehumanization as a means to securing positive peace will remain challenging. The components came to the fore through the content analysis of dehumanization in anecdotes from survivors of the Holocaust. The latter study looked into the use of non-human referents applied to humans or their lived experiences. The findings were additionally considered in light of the literature on perpetrators and of samples that matched search criteria but were not deemed dehumanizing.

Author Bio(s)

Aniuska M. Luna is Aniuska M. Luna is a Ph.D. graduate from Nova Southeastern University’s Conflict analysis and resolution (CAR) program. She holds graduate certificates in Peace studies and CAR, and a Master in Cross-disciplinary studies. Her undergraduate background is in modern languages (BA in Spanish) and Latin American studies (certificate). Her research interests are inter-disciplinary and qualitative with a focus on dehumanization studies, reflexivity as a proactive tool in multiple settings, and the dynamics of war and genocide. She is not currently affiliated with an institution. Contact: aluna5942@gmail.com Tel. 305.607.9502.


dehumanization, Holocaust, human-dog relation, labeling/euphemisms, propaganda, systems theory

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