Chapter 6 Microcosmic Theories of Violent Conflict Su Chen Wen Introduce • Social scientists have turned increasingly toward motives, reasons, and causal factors that may be operative both in individual human beings and in social collective • Even though people are not immediately aware of them and do not become consciously aware of them except as a result of scientific observation and methodical analysis • Why do individuals behave aggressively ? • Why do states and other groups or actors wage wars ? – Macrocosmic and Microcosmic – Psychological – Multiple explanatory factors Biological and Psychological theories • Conflict has an inside and an outside dimension. • It arises out of the internal dimensions of internal dimensions of acting singly or in groups, and also out of external conditions and social structures. – Sociobiology – Sociobiologists Socialization, Displacement, and Projection • The frustration-aggression school has attempted to move from the individual to the social level more by logical inference than by experimentation. • Frustration-aggression patterns are culturebound, the socialization of aggression takes place in all human societies, attenuating hostile action among members of the in-group by directing aggressive impulses against out-groups. Other Psychological Theories • “Intolerance of ambiguity” • “Nationalism” certainly contains strong and unmistakable psychological ingredients. • “Escape from freedom” Learned aggression and military training • Bandura has shown that the conversion of socialized individual into effective military combatants requires a carefully conceived and executed training program • Frustration-Aggression-Displacement syndrome. Learning, Images, and International conflict • Should not discount too much the role of psychological factors in the onset and conduct of war. • Leaders and citizens alike form their attitudefriendly, hostile, or indifferent-about the world, foreigners, and other nations and cultures through a complex process of psychosocial development from youth to old age. • Kenneth Bouding, the behavior of complex political organizations is determined by decisions that are in turn the functions of the decision maker’s image. • The images of decision makers are more important than the images of the masses. • According to Boulding , the folk-image is a mass image, share by rules and ruled alike. • The notion of mirror images became popular during the Cold War and was based on the assumption • the people of two countries involved in a prolonged hostile confrontation develop fixed, distorted attitude that are really quite similar. Instinct theories of aggression • The key microcosmic concept developed by biologists and psychologist for the explanation of conflict is aggression. – Hostile aggression – Instrumental aggression • “Social labeling process”, that is , on social judgment that determine which injurious or destructive acts are to called “aggressive”. LORENZ : Intraspecific aggression • Konrad Lorenz, aggression is an instinct, which under natural conditions helps to ensure the survival of the individual and the species. • The typical aggressive instinct, he says , occurs among members of the same species, not between members of different species. • It is intraspecific rather than interspecific, and it is best illustrated by the tenacity with which a fish, mammal, or bird will defend its territory against others of its own species. Frustration-Aggression Theory • Most psychologists today trace individual aggression to some form of frustration. • “Aggression is always a consequence of frustration” and that frustration always leads to some form of aggression. • “Frustration-Aggression Theory” appeals to the common sense of most people, who know from personal experience that they have at time felt aggressive urges after being frustrated. Aggression diversion and reduction • Social psychologist often point out the expression of aggression within a society may be either covert or overt. • Scientists may develop culturally acceptable ways of either reducing or working off aggressive impulses. Conclusion: Microcosmic theories in perspective • This chapter has shown how complex are the biological and psychosocial foundations of politics. • However important first-image causes of war may be –and no one denies their importantwe may never completely understand the factors that operate, consciously or unconsciously , and personal level.