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Thread: Social sciences modeling of ethnic violence

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    Default Social sciences modeling of ethnic violence

    Using science to avoid ethnic violence
    http://phys.org/news/2014-05-science...-violence.html
    What if we could use science to understand, accurately predict, and ultimately avoid, ethnic violence? A new study published in PLOS ONE does just that. The key to peace, the theory argues, is to either completely integrate or completely separate people based on cultural, linguistic, and ethnical differences.

    Researchers at New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) analyzed two countries that both have boundaries separating cultural and linguistic groups, and found that the violence in both cases matched the theory's predictions, but in very different ways. Switzerland, a model of success when it comes to peace, contains boundaries within it that align with people ethnicities, and has almost no violence. In fact, the only area of violence occurs in Jura, precisely where NECSI's theory predicts that the boundaries between groups are insufficient. In Yugoslavia on the other hand, the boundaries do not actually align with people's differences and, as predicted, there is violence at the points of friction. This shows that there are right ways and there are wrong ways to set up boundaries to achieve peace within a country. Knowing that can help us make informed decisions and design for peace.

    "We've seen that the ways borders and boundaries between groups are arranged really can prevent violence. When I think of the suffering and the lives lost, and I see those results, the findings just can't be ignored," said Andreas Gros, one of the authors.




    Social psychologists: war is not inevitable
    http://phys.org/news/2013-10-social-...sychology.html
    Leidner and colleagues recall how political and social psychology researchers have in recent decades steadily gained more understanding, through research, of such psychological factors as intergroup threat, uncertainty, group identity, emotions, moral beliefs and how intergroup conflict affects views of the world and of oneself.

    They review theory and research that specify psychological factors that contribute to and perpetuate intergroup violence through emotional responses and belief systems fostered by conflict. Finally, they summarize ideas of how psychological "defenses of peace" –– a phrase in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) preamble –– can be constructed in the human mind.

    The authors acknowledge that conflict and violence between groups persist because they often give people ways to address psychological needs, for identity, safety, security and power. Nonviolence has received far less media and research attention, they point out, but this should change. The UMass Amherst team urges social psychologists to consider factors that increase empathy and understanding of others, along with factors that increase the capacity for critical evaluation of the "ingroup."

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    I read recently an article that said that countries that were less religiously-diverse had more faith-based violence, which would seem to run contrary to this. Maybe the study was limited or religion is an exception! (http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...olence/360196/)

    It would be interesting to know how the free movement of people in the EU for example affects results (although clearly, they are still able to do country-specific analysis)
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    I think it's a bit stupid to take Switzerland, one of the least violent places on earth, as a basis for the study of inter-ethnic violence. Let's not even metion the fact that some of those Kantons used to be italian-ish and were germanized without much violence...(Graubunden/Grigioni mostly)..and let's not even mention that in the grand scheme of things the biggest cultural differences among southern-germans, northern italians and eastern french people amount to the time of the day when you eat, the most likely kind of stuff you eat, and when you go to bed.

    P.s. I looked at the paper...there is very very little reference to the data used to compute "realized violence". According to what they say, they simply used a couple of newspaper articles to check where exactly in Switzerland "violent ethnic-related events" actually occurr...
    Last edited by FDG; 05-29-2014 at 08:23 AM.
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    Lel, I wouldn't bet on "least violent place on Earth" just by being aware of the body's politics.

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