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Group absolution is a concept that helps explain how individuals bring themselves to commit acts of violence when they become part of a group. Group absolution is the simultaneous sense of accountability and anonymity: accountability to one’s comrades and anonymity concerning responsibility for the group’s conduct. Group absolution is therefore a framework for understanding conflict. Group absolution is mainly a value-neutral conceptual framework; the concept does not inherently evaluate issues arising from any given conflict, or automatically pass judgment on a particular war. Nonetheless, group absolution helps explain how unit cohesion and esprit de corps are translated into a willingness to commit violence. Group absolution also provides a coping mechanism for combatants to accept their role in combat following the end of hostilities. Group ...

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