Virtuous violence : a social identity approach to understanding the politics of prejudice in inter-group relations
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The aim of the thesis is to provide a social identity account of the politics of mobilisation: based on hatred mostly, in contrast with accounts of solidarity. The bulk of the thesis concentrates on exploring how and why is prejudice in the form of hatred mobilised in inter-group relations. Three studies parse the structure of hate discourse of Hindu right-wing groups in India. Study 1 and study 2 are qualitative studies that analyse the production of hate in two mediums of communication, while study 3 is an experimental study demonstrating the reception of hate. The studies analyse the structure of hate discourse with the theoretical lens of a social identity framework to explicate a context of categories and category-relations, while colouring in the contents of the categories with data from India. The first contention is, if a virtuous in-group can be construed as under threat from an out-group, then, the annihilation of the other can be justified as the defence of virtue. In the other words, violence becomes virtuous. The second contention is, the process that motivates out-group hate discourse derives from struggles over intra-group authority. That is, out-group threats are invoked in order to condemn political rivals for in-group power as not representing the group and not defending group interests. This sets up the foil for the leader to position ‘self’ as the ideal leader who protects and represents the in-group, while undermining the credibility of the political rival. Study 4 is a qualitative study analysing counter-hegemonic discourse on mobilisations against the rhetoric of hatred. Taken together, the first 3 studies argue that hatred is not an inherent feature of individuals or a natural fall-out of inter-group processes, it is mobilised for specific political aims. The fourth study looks at the dimensions with which other leaders counteract the politics of hate; when hatred can be mobilised, so can solidarity. The theoretical implications and limitations have been discussed.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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