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Humanising and dehumanising the other: ethnic conflict in Malaysia

Christie, Daniel J. and Noor, Noraini M. (2017) Humanising and dehumanising the other: ethnic conflict in Malaysia. In: Enlarging the scope of peace psychology. Peace Psychology Book Series . Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp. 109-157. ISBN 978-3-319-45287-6

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The lack of research on humanising processes represents a missed opportunity, both theoretically and practically, because “perceiving the Other as human” is arguably an important precondition for establishing and maintaining harmonious and equitable relations between individuals and groups. We present research on patterns of humanisation and dehumanisation in the rhetoric of political elite in Malaysia, focusing on the societal divide between Malays and Chinese Malaysians. Using a coding scheme, we analysed two major Malaysian newspapers and identified general themes in which the Other was represented as machine-like or animalistic. The nature of dehumanising rhetoric varied by ethnicity, suggesting that the kinds of attributions that would be necessary to make the Other “more fully human” depend on the source and target of dehumanisation. Evidence of humanising rhetoric also was obtained when we used a coding scheme that conceptualised humanisation as the semantic opposite of dehumanisation. Some statements did not neatly fit the coding scheme but could be categorised into themes of equity, solidarity, and respect for differences. These emergent themes point to the potential of additional qualities of humanisation that may promote harmonious relations between individuals and groups and underscore the usefulness of a grounded approach that takes into account varying geohistorical contexts in order to further clarify the semantic spaces occupied by humanising rhetoric.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: 1099/57386
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dehumanisation, Humanisation, Political rhetoric, Ethnic conflict, Harmony, Equity, Identity politics, Peace journalism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of Psychology
Depositing User: Professor Noraini M. Noor
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2017 11:43
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2018 12:08
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/57386

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