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Moral Disengagement

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Moral Disengagement

Moral disengagement is the process by which people justify emotionally, morally, and physically, behavior they or others would normally consider reprehensible. By instituting moral disengagement, societies, and therefore the people that make up said societies, are able to plan and execute certain actions that, if not morally disengaged from their normal self-sanctioning and self-controlling behaviors, would be undertaken with extreme difficulty at best. However, most people possess certain self-regulatory and self-sanctioning behavior mechanisms that prevent them from committing inhumane acts against others. The problem with self-controlling behavior mechanisms, though, is two-fold. First, the behavior is founded on the willingness of the individual to adhere to the humane behavior. Secondly, the existence of several mechanisms with which circumvention of self-regulatory behavior is facilitated allow a readily accessible means of coming to terms with inhumane actions.

One of the main types of moral disengagement is the process of reconstruing detrime...

... middle of paper ...

... hate crimes?

In conclusion, moral disengagement is a means by which people can more easily commit inhumane acts, and is a theory as to why people commit these acts. However, the article that defines moral disengagement and its mechanisms so well fails to propose any fixes for the social conditions that it claims are the most likely to cause outbursts of heinous behavior.


Bandura, Albert. (1990). Selective activation and disengagement of moral
control. Journal of Social Issues, 46. p. 27-46.

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