Disloyal, Deluded, Dangerous: How Supporters of Violence or Separatism Discredit Their Political Opponents

  • W. Mick L. Finlay
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


Where there is conflict between groups, members argue with each other over the correct course of action. While some advocate increased violence or separation between the groups, others argue for peace, tolerance, or interdependence. Advocates of violence or separation engage in discursive strategies to discredit these ingroup opponents, in which they claim to represent the true interests and spirit of the group while their opponents are dismissed are selfish, disloyal, subservient, weak, or ignorant. Methods of discrediting opponents act as a form of social pressure, defining a set of social norms, punishing dissenters, and warning others against publicly adopting opposing positions. This chapter examines the discursive practices used to discredit opponents in a range of current and historical conflict situations. A distinction will be drawn between ‘mild’ and ‘strong’ discrediting practices.


Discrediting Discursive psychology Identity Intergroup conflict Peace psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK

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