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Constructing a discourse and/or narrative where a certain category of people is seen as less than human. (In Swedish: dehumanisering)


This facet of categorism is an expression of: prejudice, bigotry and discrimination, acting on the dogmatic level or discursive level.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Demonization: To portray someone as an inhuman monster is both dehumanization and demonization. These two facets are separate facets because you can also portray someone as "less than human, without being monstrous" or as "monstrous, but still fully human".
  • Othering: If it isn't even human, it's certainly not one of us!
  • Incomprehensibilization: it is hard to dehumanize someone we understand, and hard to understand someone while we dehumanize them.

As well as with abstractions such as:

  • Categorization by emotional bias: When we see someone as human, it becomes hard to categorize this person as something we consider to be less than human.
  • Zero-category: Through dehumanizing a minority, it becomes easy to pretend that the majority is simply "human" - and thus not a category.

Dehumanization and foci of categorism

Examples of applying this facet to a particular foci of categorism can include:

  • Homophobia: Talking about gay people as if they were animals in heat.
  • Misogyny: Talking about human traits such as logic and reason as if they were exclusively male traits, as if women were pet animals rather than fellow human beings.
  • Misandry: Talking about men as if they were robots or monstrous beasts. Statements such as "To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo."

Dehumanization in example texts