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NCJ Number: 63539 Find in a Library
Title: EXPLANATION OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE - SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES VERSUS INDIGNATION
Journal: POLITICS AND SOCIETY  Volume:2  Dated:(FALL 1971)  Pages:89-104
Author(s): P A LUPSHA
Corporate Author: Geron-X, Inc Publishers
United States of America
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Geron-X, Inc Publishers
Los Altos, CA 94022
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS EXAMINATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL LITERATURE AND HISTORICAL CASES OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE COMPARES THE RELATIVE MERITS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES AND OF A THEORY OF INDIGNATION AS EXPLANATIONS FOR THIS VIOLENCE.
Abstract: POPULAR PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE ARE BASED ON THEORIES OF RISING EXPECTATIONS, DEPRIVATION, AND RESULTING FRUSTRATION THAT LEADS TO VIOLENCE. THESE THEORIES SUFFER FROM BOTH DEFINITIONAL AND METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS AND FAIL TO EXPLAIN THE PROGRESSION FROM INDIVIDUAL EXPECTATIONS OR FRUSTRATION TO COLLECTIVE ACTION. MOREOVER, NUMEROUS STUDIES BY EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGISTS INDICATE THAT FRUSTRATION DOES NOT NECESSARILY LEAD TO AGGRESSION, THAT MUCH AGGRESSION OCCURS IN THE ABSENCE OF A FRUSTRATING SITUATION, AND THAT LEARNING CAN EITHER INHIBIT OR REINFORCE AGGRESSION. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE HAS BEEN WIDELY ACCEPTED BY SOCIAL SCIENTISTS BOTH BECAUSE IT APPEARS PLAUSIBLE AND BECAUSE IT IS PARTLY TRUE. IN CONTRAST, AN EXPLANATION WHICH LINKS POLITICAL VIOLENCE TO A RATIONAL CALCULATION BASED ON A SENSE OF INDIGNATION IS EQUALLY PLAUSIBLE AND PROVIDES A CLOSER LINK BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGICAL AND POLITICAL THEORY. ANALYSIS OF THE 1919 CHICAGO RACE RIOT, THE WATTS RIOT, THE 1968 RIOTS FOLLOWING MARTIN LUTHER KING'S ASSASSINATION, AND RADICAL STUDENT VIOLENCE INDICATES THAT VIOLENCE IS BASED ON MORAL OUTRAGE RESULTING FROM UNJUST OR UNWORTHY TREATMENT. THE CONCEPT OF INDIGNATION INVOLVES NORMS AS WELL AS PSYCHOLOGICAL MECHANISMS AND IS BASED ON LEARNED STANDARDS. VIOLENCE, THEREFORE, CAN BE A RATIONAL POLITICAL RESPONSE TO MANY FORMS OF GOVERNMENT ACTION, ESPECIALLY GOVERNMENT VIOLENCE AND IS NOT NECESSARILY BASED ON PSYCHOLOGICAL DEPRIVATION OR EXPECTATIONS. FOOTNOTES WHICH INCLUDE REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (CFW)
Index Term(s): Aggression; Collective violence; Conflict theory; Politically motivated violent crimes; Psychological theories; Riot causes; Terrorism causes
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63539

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