Skip to content

A Review Essay of Ervin Staub's The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence

by Israel W Charny
International Journal of Group Tensions ()


A review essay on a book by Ervin Staub, The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge U Press, 1989 see listing in IRPS No. 64). Staub explores the psychological & cultural bases of genocide & other forms of group violence, focusing specifically on the Nazi Holocaust, genocide in Armenia & Cambodia, & the mass killings in Argentina. The similarity of evil in groups & in individuals is demonstrated. Evil in groups stems from ordinary motivations & psychological processes, eg, compartmentalization of functions, euphemistic language, obedience to authority, & the authoritarianism of culture. Anecdotal evidence of these processes is interwoven with theory, but the book suffers from inadequate treatment of the psychology of the individual & inadequate research on the existing literature in the field of genocide studies. 25 References. D. Generoli (Copyright 1992, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.)

Cite this document (BETA)

Readership Statistics

3 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
67% Social Sciences
33% Psychology
by Academic Status
33% Student > Bachelor
33% Student > Doctoral Student
33% Professor

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Sign up & Download

Already have an account? Sign in