The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage, Altruism Born of Suffering, Active Bystandership, and Heroism

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Oxford University Press, Mar 3, 2015 - Psychology - 408 pages
In The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil, Ervin Staub draws on his extensive experience in scholarship and intervention in real-world settings to illuminate the socializing experiences, education, and training that lead children and adults to become caring people and active bystanders who help others, and act to prevent violence and create caring societies. The book offers an excellent balance of Staub's important and influential recent articles and essays in the field and newly written chapters. It explores why we should help and not harm others. It offers wide-ranging examples and research about the roots of everyday helping and heroism, rescue in the Holocaust and elsewhere, overcoming trauma to become altruists, reconciliation in Rwanda and other ways of resisting evil, and more. Staub engages with ways to promote active bystandership in the service of preventing violence, helping people to heal from violence, and building caring societies. He explores the range of experiences that lead to active bystandership, including socialization by parents, teachers (and peers) in childhood, education, experiential learning, and public education through media. He examines what personal characteristics or dispositions result from such experiences, which in turn lead to caring and helping. Staub also considers how circumstances influence people--both individuals and whole groups--and how they join with personal dispositions to determine whether people remain passive in the face of others' need or instead help others and behave in morally courageous or even heroic ways. He considers how moral and caring values can be subverted by circumstances, and outlines ways to resist that possiblity. He also considers how past victimization and the resulting psychological woundedness, which can lead to "defensive violence" or hostility toward people and the world, may be transformed by other experiences, leading to "altruism born of suffering." The book draws on research and theory as well as work in applied settings. Ultimately this book will help readers explore how we can turn ourselves into active, helpful people and what we need to do to create peaceful and caring societies.

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 Examples of Goodness and Passivity and Overview of the Book
2 Why We Should Help and Not Harm Others
 Socialization and Experience
4 Basic Psychological Needs Caring and Violence and Optimal Human Functioning
 The Evolution of Helping and Caring and Violence Through Ones Own Actions
 Bystanders to Genocide
 Perpetrators Bystanders and Heroic Helpers
8 Psychology Morality Devaluation and Evil
17 Education and Trainings as Routes to Helping Nonaggression Compassion and Heroism
18 Advancing Healing and Reconciliationin Rwanda and Beyond
 Changing Hearts and Minds Musekeweya an Educational Radio Drama in Rwanda
20 Preventing Violence and Terrorism and Promoting Positive Relations Between Dutch and Muslim Communities in Amsterdam
21 The Impact of the Staub Model on Policymaking in Amsterdam Regarding Polarization and Radicalization
 Active Bystandership in Extreme Times and in Building Peaceful Societies
23 Exploring Moral Courage and Heroism
24 Nonviolence as a Way to Address Injustice and Group Conflict

9 Helping Psychologically Wounded Children Heal
 The Roots of Caring and Helping After Victimization and Other Trauma
 Survivors Saving Themselves and the Impact on Their Lives
12 Heroes and Other Committed Individuals
13 How Can We Become Good Bystandersin Response to Needs Around Us and in the World?
14 Understanding Police Violence and Active Bystandership in Preventing It
Active Bystandership Helps
16 Training Active Bystanders in Schools and Other Settings
25 An Unassuming Hero
 Interview with Ervin Staub
27 Summary Table of the Roots of Caring Helping Active Bystandership Resistance to Violence and Creating Caring Societies
 Values Culture Institutions
Author Index
Subject Index

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About the author (2015)

Ervin Staub is Professor Emeritus and the founding director of the doctoral program in the psychology of peace and violence at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He previously taught at Harvard University. He has studied the roots of caring, helping, and altruism and their development in children and adults, as well as the roots of genocide and other violence between groups, their prevention, and reconciliation. He is the past president of two societies, editor or co-editor of four books, and the author of six books and many articles and book chapters. He has worked in a variety of real-world settings, in schools to develop caring classrooms and active bystandership by students, and in Rwanda to promote reconciliation. For more information, visit .

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