The concept of economic threat and symbolic threat

'Reference has been made herein to the concept of economic threat and symbolic threat. It is asserted that when both threats are perceived by the majority or more powerful ‘in-group’ the risks of violence, crime, and genocide towards the minority and potentially weaker ‘out-group’ increases. Jews in Nazi Germany were perceived as both an economic and a symbolic or cultural threat. They were held to be responsible for Germany’s defeat in the First World War, for the subsequent social upheaval, for the financial difficulties that struck down the economy, and for the threat of Bolshevism. Concrete evidence was not needed to justify claims against the Jews, and Nazi propaganda fell on receptive ears. A gradual process denied Jews normal citizenship rights and sought, successfully, to dehumanise them in the eyes of the majority population. The war in Yugoslavia had multiple causes, not least of which was Serbian nationalism and expansionism, but in the process of expansionism, and resistance to territorial aims at independence, there was targeting and murder of those perceived as an economic (territorial) and symbolic threat.'

 

Simon Bell, Tribalism and Prejudice: The Far-Right and Lessons From History


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