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In the UK, misogyny has only just been classed as a hate crime, amid anger over women’s safety on our streets.
Yet while everyone is capable of hate, very few of us act on its worst impulses.
Matthew Williams, a British professor of criminology who has worked with the UK and US governments, wants to know why.
His book, the Science of Hate, combines his own research with decades of studies by others to find an answer.
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The result is a harrowing but illuminating work, being released at a time when hate appears to be on the ascendency but far from trying to stop it, some of the world’s most powerful people seem to be using it to manipulate millions.
The tactics used in the Donald Trump 2016 presidential cam...
How those faces became something to be feared is, Williams argues, because of a complex cocktail of upbringing and cultural input, like racial stereotypes in movies.
Social media has a powerful role to play, too. Williams says it can work as an “accelerant” that pushes people towards radica...
There are plenty of scientific charts, data-filled maps and reproductions of MRI scans scattered throughout, but this is not an academic work.
At times it reads more like a thriller, as Williams reconstructs the events leading up to notorious crimes such as the 1999 Soho nail bombings by Da...
A world-leading criminologist explores the tipping point between prejudice and hate crime, analysing human behaviour across the globe and throughout history in this vital book.
Are our brains wired to hate? Is social media to blame for an increase in hateful abuse? With hate on the rise, wh...
Surveying human behaviour across the globe and reaching back through time, from our tribal ancestors in prehistory to artificial intelligence in the twenty-first century, The Science of Hate is a groundbreaking and surprising examination of the elusive 'tipping point' between pre...
Once an aspiring journalist, Williams switched careers in the late nineties following an assault on him by three men outside a gay-friendly bar on Tottenham Court Road.
He describes it in the book, and says in the aftermath he was filled with questions about why his attackers hated who he w...
Regardless, Williams says bursting our online “filter bubbles” is essential to overcoming hatred. Williams avoids easy answers and worries that had his own life taken a different path, he could have been the one carrying out the hate attack rather than the victim. His point is that we all could.
In fact, the capacity to hate is hard-wired into all of us. It comes from a genetic throwback to ancient times when the human brain had to quickly identify threats, but we have never learned how to switch it off.
Williams says researchers have been able to trigger the same response that kep...
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