Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

Khoroshilov D.A. Social institutes and problem of evil in psychology

Dmitry A. Khoroshilov, Dr. of Sci. (Psychology), Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia; bld. 6, Miusskaya square, Moscow, Russia, 125047;

The article deals with the problem of dual understanding of the principle of social determination in Russian psychology. Social determination was interpreted primarily as the mediation of cognitive processes by the sign system of language and interpersonal relations, while the real socio-historical context of human life was relegated to the background. In the scientific school of G.M. Andreeva was the first to propose a conceptual program for the return of the real context to the study of social cognition as the construction of an image of the world. The “crystallization” of the social context is social institutions that set the mechanisms of socialization and individualization of the individual. Radical social changes are interpreted as a total crisis of social institutions that are losing their main function – the orientation of a person in uncertainty. In a situation of deformation and crisis of institutions, space is freed up for the embodiment of social evil as an all-encompassing violence and self-destruction of society. The ultimate expression of social evil should be considered the political regime and ideology of German fascism in 1933–1945, which, after the works of H. Arendt, is studied in the perspective of the everydayization and banalization of violence. The desire to comprehend the reasons for the establishment of fascism has become one of the factors in the transformation of social psychology into an experimental discipline, in which K. Levin, S. Asch, S. Milgram, F. Zimbardo and other scientists have been researching, realizing the goal of modeling evil in social relations. Classical social psychological experiments are rather scientific performances (comparable to the art performances of M. Abramovich), and not methods in the strict sense of the word. Interdisciplinary studies of social evil can reveal the latent institutional prerequisites for the emergence of the phenomena of “new fascism” (according to J. Butler) and “fluid evil” (Z. Bauman). As evidence of the need for an expanded understanding of social determination, the “Second Book” of the memoirs of N.Ya. Mandelstam is analyzed.


Key words: social determination, social institutions, banality of evil, liquid evil, “The Second Book” by N.Ya. Mandelstam


For citation: Khoroshilov, D.A. (2022) Social institutes and problem of evil in psychology, New Psychological Research, No. 4, 73–89, DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2022_02_04_04



The study was supported by Russian Scientific Foundation, project No. 22-18-00140 “Dynamic stability of personality in the space of sociocultural uncertainty”.

keywords: social determination, social institutions, banality of evil, liquid evil, “The Second Book” by N.Ya. Mandelstam

received 30 December 2022

published 30 December 2022

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