"Catastrophic dehumanization: the psychological dynamics of severe conflict" by Prof Thomas Homer-Dixon

Past Event

17 April 2012, 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This lecture is being held by the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Martin Programme on Complexity

Summary: Dehumanization is arguably a defining feature of the most brutal acts of human violence, such as saturation bombardment of civilian populations, terrorist attacks on urban centers, intense battlefield combat, and genocide. I propose a psychological explanation of this phenomenon that uses a catastrophe manifold to describe a set of psychological states in an individual’s mind and the possible pathways of movement between these states. The manifold exists in a three-dimensional phase space defined by the variables identity, justice, and structural constraint. It specifies five hypotheses about the causes and dynamics of dehumanization. Taken together, these hypotheses represent an overarching theory of the nonlinear collapse of identification at the level of the individual.

Speaker: Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon, Director, Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation, University of Waterloo, Canada

Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon answers questions on his forthcoming lecture and research in this blog http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/blog/view/152