Manufacturing Monsters: Dehumanization and Public Policy

  • David Livingstone Smith


In this chapter I explore the phenomenon of dehumanization in relation to public policy. Using two examples of spectacle lynchings of African Americans, I articulate a conception of dehumanization as the attitude of conceiving of others as subhuman creatures and explain the psychological basis for this phenomenon. I suggest that dehumanization is pertinent to policies concerning hate speech. I address objections to my conception of dehumanization: that dehumanizers implicitly or explicitly acknowledge the humanity of their victims and that dehumanizers regard their victims not merely as animals but also as demons and monsters. I explain how these objections can be met.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Livingstone Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandBiddefordUSA

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