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The word destabilisation can be applied to a wide variety of contexts such as attempts to undermine political, military or economic power.


In a psychological context it is used as a technique in brainwashing and abuse to disorient and disarm the victim. For example, in the context of workplace bullying, destabilisation applied to the victim may involve:[1][2]

  • failure to acknowledge good work and value the victim's efforts
  • allocation of meaningless tasks
  • removal of areas of responsibility without consultation
  • repeated reminders of blunders
  • setting up to fail
  • shifting of goal posts without telling the victim
  • persistent attempts to demoralise the victim.

Destabilisation could also denote the extreme end of disinhibition syndrome and entail the complete shutdown of an individual's control of emotions, inhibitions, and productive functioning.[3] The condition can be episodic or it could last for months or years, requiring professional care from a practitioner who is familiar with the individual's primary neurological disorder.[3]

In psychology, there is also a process called cognitive destabilisation, which involves being open to conversions and transformations of various kinds.[4] This could be used to counter political destabilisation by presenting a consensual view of the problem.[5]

Other applications[edit]

Destabilisation is also used in the feminist context such as the way it is used to change the binary opposition between men and women, particularly how it gives the category 'woman' its meaning.[6] In literature, a conceptualization refers to it as an aggression or a kind of attack on the reader to provoke discomfort.[7] In international capital transactions, it is used to denote as a capital movement driven by erroneous forecast, driving the exchange rate away from equilibrium that would be supported by rational speculators whose foresight are correct.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rayner, Charlotte; Hoel, Helge; Cooper, Cary L. (2001). Workplace Bullying: What We Know, Who Is to Blame and What Can We Do?. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-24062-8. OCLC 80758449.
  2. ^ Peyton, Pauline Rennie (2003). Dignity at Work: Eliminate Bullying and Create a Positive Working Environment. New York: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 978-1-58391-237-9. OCLC 52334801.
  3. ^ a b Wood, Rose (1999). Dysinhibition Syndrome: How to Handle Anger and Rage in Your Child Or Spouse. Duarte, CA: Hope Press. p. 5. ISBN 1878267086.
  4. ^ Anderson, Amanda (2009). The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 119. ISBN 9780691114033.
  5. ^ Lidskog, Rolf; Soneryd, Linda; Uggla, Ylva (2010). Transboundary Risk Governance. Sterling, VA: Earthscan. p. 8. ISBN 9781844077915.
  6. ^ Barrett, Michèle; Phillips, Anne (1992). Destabilizing Theory: Contemporary Feminist Debates. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0804720304.
  7. ^ Hume, Kathryn (2011-12-05). Aggressive Fictions: Reading the Contemporary American Novel. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801462887.
  8. ^ Fieleke, Mr Norman S. (1993-12-01). International Capital Transactions: Should They Be Restricted?. International Monetary Fund. ISBN 9781455220526.

Further reading[edit]