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Lecture 2

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Peace and Conflict Studies
PACS 201
Nathan Funk

POPULAR IMAGES OF HUMAN NATURE Tacit knowledge about conflict and violence:  Past experience  Media  Social expectations Violence and peace in the public mind: (movies)  “nonviolent stories”—comedy, kids, family, romance  “violent stories”—horror, thrillers, war movies, action adventure, video games VIOLENCE AS A FUNCTION OF INNATE HUMAN AGGRESSION Aggression: A Multi-Dimensional Concept  Wide range of meanings in common usage  Does not always entail violence  Minimalism = assertiveness, firmness, involve someone energetic in pursuit of solution to a problem or challenging someone’s statement or conviction  Maximalism = unprovoked attack, invasion of someone else’s territory  Used with idea of hostility  Psychological manifestation to challenge others  Anxiety/territorial/possessive/dominance-related aggression  Element of fear that is part of the impetus for aggression Instinctivism  Direct link between genetics and violence  Konrad Lorenz: aggression as an innate drive - animals have genetically fixed action patterns; aggression is one of them - aggression has species-preserving function - extrapolated from animal kingdom to human behaviour  war is “in our genes” Socio-biology  Explains behaviour of animals in relation to evolutionary pressures and “natural selection”  Nature AND nurture  i.e. if humans have capacity to be aggressive today, it’s because aggressive behaviour has served the species well and thus, have been encoded in our species repertoire  aggressiveness = adaptive evolutionary behaviour  i.e. Edward O. Wilson: there is a capacity to social learning to suppress certain behaviours and draw out others, and it is enough for aggressive patterns to be evoked under certain patterns or conditions Psychoanalysis  unconscious forces motivate human behaviour: “Eros and Thanatos” (Life vs Death)  deep down, people are not civilized, primitive and hard to govern  we have achieved civilization through repression of these instinctive forces and behaviours  thus, we are not adjusted and we can only be better adjusted  believed human beings are narcissistic; collective narcissism as a source of rivalry - humans are always insecure with mortality and own identity Early Political Theory  Thomas Hobbes and The Leviathan: - believed that a secure social order is only possible through strong political authority - without “a common Power to keep them all in awe”, people regress to “a war…of every man, against every man”  Hobbes saw human condition as: - competitive, diffident (distrust of others), and in the pursuit of glory - “state of nature” = violent anarchy - need for hierarchy to create society Assessing “Innate Aggression” Explanations for Violence View of human nature:  Egocentric, insecure, impulsive, deeply conflicted, needing external control or discipline (pessimistic) Think:  How accurate and/or complete is this account of
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