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#385#386#387#388 Episode #389 - Crimes of Obedience
(The Systemic Roots of Torture)



Sun 16 December 2007  Philip Zimbardo, Thomas Hilde, Christian Davenport, Malcolm Nance
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2When an incident of torture or brutality by the military or police erupts into public view as a scandal, the official opinion makers repeatedly frame the incident as a result of individual flaws, bad apples. Our speakers this week will will expose the roots of torture as crimes of obedience, conformity to a society where bullies rule.
In the book, For Giving: a feminist critique of exchange that I've been reading from over recent weeks, philosopher Genevieve Vaughan has made the case that understanding the dehumanization of women under patriarchy is key to understanding other coercive or exploitative social arrangements based on maintaining authority and privilege by force and violence. Vaughan notes that the privileged ones are distinguished by a mark, in the case of patriarchy, a body part and a gender identity. In the case of other analogous systems of domination and submission, the mark may be skin color, ownership of property, membership in an ideological or ethnic group, or the wearing of special clothes like uniforms and badges. Though I'm going to suspend the reading of Vaughan's book this week on account of time constraints, it nonetheless provides a useful frame for understanding the topic of this week's program - torture, and why it persists even in societies that officially reject its use.
Thanks to C-span
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