Becoming Evil How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-03-22
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The first edition of Becoming Evil spoke unforgettably to a world shell-shocked by 9/11 that faced a new war on terror against members of an Axis of Evil. With this second edition, James Waller brings us up to date on some of the horrific events he used in the first edition to illustrate histheory of extraordinary human evil, particularly those from the perennially troubled Balkans and Africa, pointing out steps taken both forward and back. Nearly a third of the references are new, reflecting the rapid pace of scholarship in Holocaust and genocide studies, and the issue of gender nowoccupies a prominent place in the discussion of the social construction of cruelty. Waller also offers a reconfigured explanatory model of evil to acknowledge that human behavior is multiply influenced, and that any answer to the question "Why did that person act as he or she did?" can be examinedat two levels of analysis-- the proximate and the ultimate. Bookended by a powerful new foreword from Greg Stanton, vice-president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and a devastating postscript that addresses current outbreaks of genocide and mass killing, this new editiondemonstrates that genocide is a problem whose time has not yet passed, but Waller's clear vision gives hope that at least we can begin to understand how ordinary people are recruited into the process of destruction.

Author Biography

James Waller is Professor and Lindaman Chair of Psychology at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Second Editionp. vii
Foreword to the First Editionp. xi
What are the Origins of Extraordinary Human Evil?
Introduction: A Place Called Mauthausenp. 3
The Nature of Extraordinary Human Evilp. 9
"Nits Make Lice"p. 25
Killers of Conviction: Groups, Ideology, and Extraordinary Human Evilp. 33
Dovey's Storyp. 54
The "Mad Nazi": Psychopathology, Personality, and Extraordinary Human Evilp. 59
The Massacre at Babi Yarp. 92
The Dead End of Demonizationp. 98
The Invasion of Dilip. 128
How Do Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing?
Beyond Demonization: A Model of How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killingp. 137
The Tonle Sap Massacrep. 163
Cultural Construction of Worldview: "Who Are the Killers?p. 171
Death of a Guatemalan Villagep. 190
Psychological Construction of the "Other": Social Death of the Victimsp. 196
The Church of Ntaramap. 221
Social Construction of Cruelty: The Power of the Situationp. 230
The "Safe Area" of Srebrenicap. 272
What Have We Learned, and Why Does It Matter?
Conclusion: Can We Be Delivered from Extraordinary Human Evil?p. 281
Postscript: Past as Presentp. 299
Notesp. 305
Selected Bibliographyp. 331
Indexp. 343
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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