Genozide werden allgemeinhin als die intentionale, oft aber nicht nur mit physischer Gewalt verbundene Vernichtung einer klar identifizierbaren Gruppe von Nichtkombattantinnen und Nichtkombattanten verstanden. So neu der Begriff ist, so alt sind viele der Praktiken. Dazu gehören massenhafte Tötungen...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Handbuch Friedenspsychologie (Band 06)
Main Author: Gudehus, Christian
Contributor: Forum Friedenspsychologie e.V. (Issuing body)
Format: Book Chapter
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2023
Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Table of Contents: Genocides are generally understood as the intentional destruction of an identifiable group of non-combatants combined with physical violence. As new as the term is, many of the practices are old. These include mass killings, expulsions, enslavement, child theft, destruction of cultural and religious sites, prohibition of the practice of customs and rituals, and the use of one's language. These measures are mostly driven by political motives, closely tied to attaining and maintaining centralized political power. Psychological concepts and findings become relevant for researchers in the field when it comes to explaining individual and collective agency in the context of this specific form of collective violence. In particular, the results of experimental social psychological studies from the 1940 to -70s have formed the backbone of often far-reaching explanatory narratives for decades. The various problems of these studies' transferability to a very diverse set of events remained unnoticed for a long time. In the last decade, an increasing number of studies have appeared in which the validity of the classics is reassessed. In addition to this recontextualization of old work, there is an urgent need to recognise the fruitfulness of other approaches that may help to get a better understanding for violence in very different historical and cultural settings. On the one hand, this would concern aspects that are culture-specific, such as processes of meaning formation, identity- and self-construction. On the other hand, these are aspects that currently cannot even be named. For example, there are several authors who have been working for some years on the development of what they call a genuinely African psychology. Whether this will result in new approaches for research on violence and peace remains to be seen. In addition, there are indigenous approaches that do not call themselves psychology. These are, for example, religious interpretations of human activity such as those found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and thus also in meditation practices. Finally, some psychologies interpret culture not as a disturbing factor but as fundamental for the understanding of individual psyches. One example is cultural psychology. Finally, focusing on the perpetrators of violence falls short conceptually. Any individual actions that are temporally and spatially proximate to violence are part of its enabling space (including cordoning off, transporting, managing, or even just providing food to the murderers. In the same way, such actions can be part of the prevention, containment or mitigation of violence (e.g., resisting, not participating, hiding, fighting).