Jan15th Rational Actors.docx

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Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies
Nancy Bertoldi

- 3 conceptions (facets of an individual) [are caricatures] of actors that engage in conflicts and how this affects how we conceptualize conflicts themselves -> affects how we design pace strategies and conflict resolution because actors are so important in conflict - identity vs. interest based ideas of agency (actors) -> not radical alternatives in which both of these accounts can be connected 1st MODEL - RATIONAL ACTORS ( choices people make strategic actions/considerations)  actors that act based in utility, cost benefit calculations -> actors used ordered preferences and interest to make decisions to maximize their utility   Preferences - usually based on self- interest, instrumentally rational (choose best means to achieve ends/preferences) -> RATIONAL IN THE PURSUITOF ENDS (instrumentally rational) and the actions they choose, not the ends in and of themselves because ends are already pre-given   Assume they know full information to make such decisions   have pre-given preferences, already know preferences before they come to any interaction   Rational on behalf of whom? 2nd MODEL - SOCIAL ACTOR  Socialized, embedded within societies and groups in which they belong -> are norms that expect them to play certain roles in light of where they stand   Not pre-given goals, but as social construction changes so does the goals -> culture, identities , deep sense of belonging to a group  Engage in social action through logic/expectations of a group   Expected because of norms of group in which he belongs to act in certain ways 3rd MODEL - MORAL ACTOR  Scrutinizes means available but also ends in consideration, as well as rules of engagement   Act with a set of ethical/moral values, questions goals, means and end-points  Emphasize choice, not in strategic considerations such as rational actors but within a certain framework of moral values  Make use of more universal language, motivated by ideas of justice, substantively rational  * DISTINCTION OF MORALITY AND MORALISM : - realist critique, quasi-Marxist idea of a group justifying immoral actions but using moralistic language (hypocrisy?) -> both sides use this, idea of justice : condemn them in light of actions? - morality itself is understood in different ways, gives rise to a pluralism of values -> - usually rational actors associated with a model of conflict called a clash of interests (language of interest and strategic action), competing strategies : then different conflict resolution strategies will be emphasized - social actors see conflict as a clash of incompatible identities (inter/intra group) - moral actors classify as clash of incompatible or diverging values (ends-means-rules) PALESTINE/ISREAL Rational: land (water, oil, conflicts over resources) military capacity of the two groups, military sovereignty -> security interests, strategic value Social : identity, religious identity, conceived of as holy, the idea of an 'ancestral homeland' Moral : wrongs, justice, Holocaust -> moral values in the construction of identities! All 3 models intertwined, conflict rendered in different ways - all models dominant in different disciples, become 'best' model for proponents but better be aware of all models and use them as you see fit, depending on which are most useful for the question that you are asking INTERPLAY - Lexus and the Olive tree : interest vs. identity based approaches - Greed and grievance model - interests and identities at work in perpetuating conflict - state capacity, intra-elite competition and mass mobilization as broader revolutionary situations where rational choices can be made, in any given conflict or social movements (which arise out of broader opportunity structures created through state action, choices, capacity etc.) - Narcissism of minor difference emphasizes the fluidity of identity - legitimacy as a key ingredient to state capacity -every model creates/emphasizes bias of agency, human actions emphasized while others occluded - social/psychological models/phenomena on both social models and rational models (perceptions) YUGOSLAVIA WARS - break up involves several wars: Slovenia, Bosnia and Kosovo - 1) social construction of group identity 2) power struggles between moderates and extremists, often within a group key to influencing trajectory of intergroup conflict 3) strategic action by elites, instrumental manipulation of identity symbols to furthur own interests 4) strategic action by followers 5) role of discursive frames on individual actions 6) broader strategic factors that set the stage for conflict 7) peace plans that work/ do not work 8) use of media and public demonstrations 1980-1990 : Dissolution of Federal Structure 1980: - Tito dies, important because e represented the idea of a unified Yugoslavia and enjoyed a certain kind of legitimacy - economic hardship and decline, negatively effects state capacity (bad time, esp. when there is a legitimacy crisis as well, as Communism losing power as a legitimate discourse for the masses, sets stage for new power struggles and the rise of power of elites within each Republic (Milosevic, you will not be beaten again
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