Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 129–140 | Cite as

What’s So Special About Persecution?

  • Jaakko Kuosmanen


The article focuses on examining the distinct nature of persecution. In the article I argue that on the grounds of common historical cases of persecution an account of the core components of the concept may be established. The core comprises three central elements: asymmetrical and systemic threat, severe and sustained harm, and unjust discriminatory targeting. I will conclude the paper by suggesting that none of the components alone make persecution anything distinct. However, the simultaneous occurrence of the components may be argued to amount to a separable class of harms that are among the worst-case scenarios for those having to endure them.


Persecution History Concept Harm Distinctiveness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pembroke CollegeUniversity of Oxford/Faculty of LawOxfordUK

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