The policy context of torture : a social psychological analysis
Herbert C. Kelman
Host item entries:
International review of the Red Cross, Vol. 87, no. 857, March 2005, p. 123-134
The present analysis suggests several conditions under which torture becomes an instrument of State policy and the authority structure of the State is fully utilized to implement that policy: the perception by State authorities that the security of the State is under severe threat - which, at the macro-level, can justify torture and, at the micro-level, contribute to its authorization; the existence of an elaborate and powerful apparatus charged with protecting the security of the State - which, at the macro-level, may lead to the recruitment and training of professional torturers as part of that apparatus and, at the micro-level, contribute to the routinization of torture; and the existence of disaffected ethnic, religious, political, or other groups within (or under the control) of the State that do not enjoy full citizenship rights - which, at the macro-level, may lead to their designation as enemies of the State and appropriate targets for torture and, at the micro-level, their dehumanization.