Unmasking: The End of Debate?

Unmasking is an extreme form of criticism that, in one form or another, you’re likely to have come across on social media like Twitter.

But while social media may have given Unmasking a new and possibly more-pernicious lease of life, it’s a form of criticism that, as our new film featuring Professor Peter Baehr demonstrates, has been around in both sociology and psychology for far longer.

Using examples from Brexit to the Moonies and taking-in classical figures such as Marx and Freud on religion along the way, the first part of the film illustrates three main forms of Unmasking:

  • Accusation – an Unmasking technique that forcefully argues ideas are fraudulent, deluded or misconceived, such as to render them not worthy of debate.
  • Weaponisation is a way of accusing somebody in such as way as to argue that their ideas are so far beyond reason they must be totally destroyed.
  • Transposition which argues that although someone appears to be saying one thing, what they really mean is something quite different and altogether more dangerous.
  • The general concept of Unmasking is illustrated through an overview of the work of Marx and Freud in the field of religion and the final part of the film looks at how ethnographic research methods may provide a more-satisfyingly social scientific approach to understanding how and why people hold views that seemingly defy rational explanation.

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