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Hollander, N.C. (2018). Torture and the Problem of the Bystander: Commentary on Philip Cushman’s “The Earthquake That Is the Hoffman Report on Torture: Toward a Re-Moralization of Psychology”. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 13(4):368-377.

(2018). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 13(4):368-377

Torture and the Problem of the Bystander: Commentary on Philip Cushman’s “The Earthquake That Is the Hoffman Report on Torture: Toward a Re-Moralization of Psychology”

Nancy Caro Hollander, Ph.D.

The author explores torture as one component of the regressive policies implemented within the context of political authoritarianism. She illustrates her contention with two disparate examples: the Argentine military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983 and U.S. constitutional democracy in the post 9/11 era and the post-Trump electoral victory. She analyzes the social matrix of neoliberal ideology and institutions that are internalized to become aspects of psychic reality. The bystander phenomenon is examined in light of how psychological dynamics intersect with social forces and hegemonic ideology to create passive citizens who tend to behave in their own self-interest rather than respond to the suffering of others. The psi professions are interpreted as resources for hegemony unless practitioners are critically committed to an ethical stance capable of challenging the prevailing status quo.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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