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Overcoming EvilGenocide, Violent Conflict, and Terrorism$
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Ervin Staub

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382044.001.0001

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The Potential and Power of Active Bystanders: Leaders, Nations, and the International System

The Potential and Power of Active Bystanders: Leaders, Nations, and the International System

Chapter:
(p.387) 17 The Potential and Power of Active Bystanders: Leaders, Nations, and the International System
Source:
Overcoming Evil
Author(s):

Ervin Staub

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382044.003.0017

This chapter discusses the role of active bystanders in inhibiting the evolution of violence. Information in the media, people talking to each other, and seeking information can overcome pluralistic ignorance—the belief that there is no need for action. Awareness by people that those in positions of authority often don't act can increase their feeling of responsibility to act. An independent perspective, empathy, personal responsibility for others' welfare, and moral courage can lead people to act to inhibit the evolution of destructiveness. Courageous, heroic actions by some individuals have had important social effects. But to be motivated to act and feel effective people need support and empowerment by joining with others. External (and internal) parties can help generate self-awareness about what inhibits action, and exert influence to promote action, but they must do so in a responsible manner, acknowledging when there is significant danger to actors.

Keywords:   active bystanders, violence, prevention, active bystanders, media, action, moral courage

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