What is Demonization?

Demonization is a process through which people target individuals or groups as the embodiment of evil. This involves a sequence of denigration, dehumanization, and demonization, which results in generating hatred of the objectified target. One way to do this is to claim that the demonized scapegoat is plotting against the public good. This often involves demagogic appeals. With demagoguery, followers must see the movement leader as charismatic, or the performance is easily interpreted as buffoonery. Demagoguery has been used historically not only by populists to denounce corrupt elites, but also by government officials to justify political repression—in both instances based on fears of conspiracies by real and imaginary subversive elements.


Tragedy in Tucson - 2011

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