Sunday, May 16, 2010

United States / Psychology of Genocide

Mass. Ph.D. Program Explores Genocide Psychology
By Bob Salsberg
Associated Press dispatch on Google News, May 15, 2010
"As a clinical psychologist, Cristina Andriani counseled victims of physical and sexual abuse, Vietnam War veterans and cult survivors. As a doctoral candidate, her understanding of trauma is expanding globally as she tries to unravel the psychological underpinnings of genocide. The first student in what Clark University in Worcester, Mass., calls the first postgraduate program of its kind in the world, Andriani is researching the deeper mysteries behind some of mankind's most horrifying atrocities of the last century, from the perspectives of both the tormentor and the tormented. While the political and historical aspects of the Holocaust and other mass killings have been extensively researched, scholars still ask: What ultimately leads one group of humans to so thoroughly and so brutally annihilate another group of humans? And what are the consequences for the survivors -- not only for the generation that experienced genocide, but for their descendants?
'I look at some of the psychology work and it lacks history, and I look at some of the history work done on genocide and it lacks the psychological backing,' said Andriani, 34, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Switzerland. 'So I think the marriage of the two really makes a lot of sense.' It's a potentially useful field of study, said John Prendergast, co-chair of the Washington, D.C.-based Enough Project, an organization focused on ending genocide and other human rights crimes. He points to the psychological profiles the U.S. government already does on potential terrorists. 'It's equally important, even more important, to do profiles of those who would go to the length of committing genocide to maintain power,' Prendergast said. 'Studying the psychological profile of a perpetrator would enhance the understanding of the tools necessary to stop him.' [...]"

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