On behalf of IPSA RC36 member Thomas Scheff we are sharing his work. Please, take a look!

A Theory of War and Violence

Thomas Scheff, G. Reginald Daniel, and Joseph Loe-Sterphone, Dept. of Sociology, UCSB

Abstract: It is possible that war in modern societies is largely driven by emotions, but in a way that is almost completely hidden. Modernity rationalizes the self and tends to ignore emotions, which can result in the total hiding of humiliation leads to vengeance. This essay outlines a theory of the social-emotional world implied in the work of C. H. Cooley, whose concept of the “looking-glass self” can be used as antidote to the assumptions of modernity: the self is based on “living in the mind” of others, resulting in feeling either pride or shame. This essay proposes that the complete hiding of shame can lead to feedback loops with no natural limit. These ideas may help explain the role of France in causing WWI, and Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. To the extent that these propositions are true, our civilization is in grave danger unless fundamental changes occur.
Keywords: shame, emotions, violence, war, C.H. Cooley, Erving Goffman

Read at SocArXiv Preprints