Understanding the psychological dynamics of individuals involved in the May 1998 mass riots: A psychological framework


  • Eunike Mutiara Himawan School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Queensland; Faculty of Psychology, Pelita Harapan University, Australia
  • Annie Pohlman School of Languages and Cultures, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • Winnifred Louis School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Australia


May 1998 riots , motivation and justification, perpetrators of mass riots, psychological dynamics


Riots are a phenomenon that occur spontaneously and can be challenging to predict and analyze comprehensively. In fact, individual involvement in riots is important to examine, particularly given Indonesia’s history of mass violence, in order to provide a comprehensive explanation of what triggered the mass riots. Using a narrative review based on the literature published in 1990–2020, this study aims to provide a framework for understanding the psychological mechanisms of individuals involved in the May 1998 riots. This psychological framework is also expected to make a contribution to understanding the social psychology of perpetrators in similar contexts elsewhere. This study proposes three categories of attributes, which are: inter-group processes, intra-group processes, and personal characteristics. These attributes can interact with the social context  so as to create individuals motivations and justifications to engage in mass violence.


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How to Cite

Himawan, E. M., Pohlman, A., & Louis, W. (2022). Understanding the psychological dynamics of individuals involved in the May 1998 mass riots: A psychological framework . Jurnal Psikologi Ulayat, 9(1), 158–178. https://doi.org/10.24854/jpu464



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