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Nov. 12 - First Image.docx

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Political Science
Todd Hall

Nov. 12 – First Image - First Image: explanation involving one individual or characteristics generalizable across all individuals - According to Waltz, first image is human nature - Nowadays, it is: o Explanations involving one individual or characteristics amongst all individuals - First Image analogy: opening up someone’s head o Can see what makes us human; what it is about certain ways in which we react that make us human o Can also understand what makes us unique  Finding for examples that certain partisans have different responses to situations - These explanations fit with the first image 1) Human Nature a. Optimists  Human nature is good, it is lack of understanding, propaganda, or cycles of violence that lead it astray...  Dealing with situation where education, history, propaganda that is responsible for our deviation to violence  If only we could have exchange program, better communication; we would then understand the good nature of humans allowing us to break the cycle of violence and enable cooperation b. Pessimists  There is something in the human psyche that makes it prone to aggression, power seeking, greed and/or violence  Human nature is predisposition to not get along => can be seen in our greed and basic reflection to turn to violence Causes for Pessimism...? i. Aggression as shared by other primates • Arguments/observations made reveal that primates are likely to engage in violence as well => inter-community aggression just like war • This suggests that we have innate aggressive behaviour => not just in humans but in close cousins too • Idea is that competition for territory enables aggression to be favoured ii. Human history and war • Humans have been engaged in collective violence with each other • Existence of settled communities led to ability to engage in warfare • Current wars: Afghanistan, Columbia iii. Human psychology • Freud at one point, proposed the existence of a death drive o Death drive directed externally is one of the contributing factors amongst human aggression • Since then, psychology has conducted experiments on what happens when people broken into groups => what dynamics come about o Found that division into groups can lead to conflict = human aggression  E.g. violence between sports fans, violence between schools,  Realistic Conflict Theory o Oklahoma boys taken to state park, divided into two groups and isolated o Then allowed to come into contact with each other; noticed competition over territory, began insulting one another o Put the two groups in competition => prize: pocket knives o Soon, things got out of hand. As soon as put into real competition, started stealing each other’s clothes, putting cabins on fire, insulting one another, started become violent o Out of this came the Realistic Conflict Theory...  When you have competition over resources, it then breeds prejudice and aggression  When you have groups that form and engage in competition, breeds aggression 1. Social Identity Theory o Experiments found that people were allocating more to those who were in the same group, despite having not met other group members. People would still favour in-group members. o “My findings also complement neorealist theory by suggesting a social, psychological, rather than a structural basis for self-help.” – Jonathan Mercer  Once you have groups, you cannot escape the world of self-help  Argues that anarchy is not what states want; there is something about human nature where once groups are formed, leads to competition  Theory can be broke down as follows: Minimal Group + Esteem Needs - When people compare themselves to other groups, they will want to be in the one that is better Comparison o When you have comparison for purposes of self-esteem, you will have competition => will want your group to be better Competition  That competition will lead to self-help and conflict Self-Help and Conflict • Your self-esteem is linked to the outcome of the conflict Implications of this? - Conflict is a product that will emerge from inter-group competition Ways to avoid conflict...  Peter Hayes Gries, “Is a China Threat Inevitable?”  Social identity allows for lots of ways out: o Social mobility  Become a part of the group that is considered the best  Re-assert oneself (or identity) in order to belong to a group (to fit in) o Social creativity can take four forms:  Shift dimension of comparison • E.g. When Canada compares itself to the United States? o Compare by culture, healthcare, economy, living standards • Shift in comparison => Canadian identity is constructed alongside Americans o Constructing identity in which comparisons are to your advantage  Change value of attributes • Look at military – is largest military seen as positive attribute in Canada? NO but in the U.S., seen as very important • Shift of value from one actor to that of another  Change target of comparison • Do not compare to certain actor => they are in another league but
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