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Fall Clearance! It's the perfect time to enjoy a hot drink and good book! Take this opportunity to browse our Clearance Sale! You never know what new adventures you will find! Refine Your Search Filter However, the actual objects of aggression—ghosts of relatives or animal spirits—were more difficult to predict. By assuming that these aggression objects lie along a continuum of similarity to parental socialization agents and by applying a modification of Miller's displacement theory, they were able to account for different patterns of aggression. When aggression anxiety is low, aggression is displaced more toward ghosts of relatives than of animal spirits; but, when aggression anxiety is high, aggression is displaced toward both ghosts of relatives and of animal spirits.

The application of the theories of conflict and displacement to problems of complex human behavior has been promising, but a great deal more research needs to be done. A major technical problem has to do with the scaling of important social dimensions along which generalization may take place.

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A related problem is the role of symbolic processes, language, and socially learned discriminations in conflict and displacement phenomena. Finally, more research is needed on the basic mechanisms involved, such as the determinants of the shape of the gradients, particularly with human subjects in a wide variety of social situations. Dollard, John; and Miller, Neal E.

New York : McGraw-Hill. Volume 10, pages — in Nebraska Symposium on Motivation.

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Edited by Marshall R. Lincoln: Univ. London: Hogarth.

Volume 2. New York: McGraw-Hill. Luriia, Aleksandr R. New York: Liveright. Miller, Neal E. Volume 1, pages — in Joseph McV. New York: Ronald. Murray, Edward J. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology — Whiting, John W. New Haven : Yale Univ. In the nineteenth century, Marx and Engels analyzed class conflict and the social Darwinists examined conflict among societies. Coser Most sociologists lost interest in conflict, however, and became increasingly engrossed with patterns and processes of social integration.

It is only in recent years, and especially with the threat of nuclear holocaust, that social scientists have focused serious attention upon problems of conflict.

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It now seems evident that all human relations may be viewed as interlaced by two closely related processes—the conflictual and the integrative. To one degree or another, these two kinds of interaction appear as soon as, and as long as, two or more individuals are in contact. They disappear only when the parties withdraw and the relationship is completely broken.

Whenever two or more individuals or groups come into contact with each other, they may choose to make their relationship primarily conflictual or primarily integrative i. If the initial relationship is primarily conflictual, there will nevertheless emerge at least a few minimal strands of understanding and reciprocity—rules of combat, or perhaps only an agreement to disagree. If, on the other hand, the initial relationship is primarily integrative, it is certain that conflict will develop—if for no other reason than through the demands of the association itself as they compete with the preferences of individuals and component groups.

Some degree of community, organization, or integration is inherent in the concept of conflict. If the parties in question were not in the same place at the same time, or performing two incompatible functions at the same time, or cooperating to inflict reciprocal injury, there would be no conflict Bernard fr, p. Almost any aspect of conflict, however destructive, requires interaction between the antagonists, considerable communication, and the establishment and maintenance of many reciprocal ties and subtle understandings.

Conflict thus functions as a binding element between parties who may previously have had no contact at all Coser , p. On the other hand, conflict may result in the disruption or destruction of all or certain of the bonds of unity that may previously have existed between the disputants. Conflicts take place between individuals, between individuals and organizations or groups, between distinct organizations or groups, between an organization and one or more of its components, or between component parts of a single organization or group.

A conflict emerges whenever two or more persons or groups seek to possess the same object, occupy the same space or the same exclusive position, play incompatible roles, maintain incompatible goals, or undertake mutually incompatible means for achieving their purposes.

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The type of conflict discussed above—essentially social conflict—should be distinguished from the inner conflict or quandary that emerges when incompatible or mutually exclusive values present themselves in the form of an actual or potential choice or decision Bernard b , p. Thus, an individual finds himself unable to make a decision because he is being pushed or pulled in opposite directions.

The same holds true for a group. He wants to be in two places at the same time or to perform two mutually exclusive functions at the same time. Like the proverbial ass between two equally attractive bales of hay, he finds himself immobilized by the choice confronting him Boulding , p. In the individual human being the distinction between the inner conflict and the outer, or social, conflict seems relatively clear: the former involves a confrontation by the individual of a difficult choice between incompatible values, whereas the latter is concerned with an incompatibility between that individual and another individual or group.

Yet the inner conflict can be viewed also as a conflict between internal components of the individual: Her heart said Yes, but her common sense said No.


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When groups and organizations are considered, the inner conflicts of a given unit are undoubtedly social conflicts conflicts between antagonistic actors when viewed on one system level; but they are also sometimes analogous to the inner conflicts or quandaries of the individual, when viewed on another level. Among groups and organizations, then, the dialogues, debates, and struggles associated with decision making may be considered on one system level as social conflicts between individual parties; or they may be treated under certain circumstances as quandaries—conflicts internal to the organism—from the perspective of another level in the systems hierarchy.

A group can be immobilized either because all the members are caught between opposing repulsions or attractions or because one component of the group is attracted or repelled in one direction, the other component in another direction. Thus, the distinction between the quandary and the so-called social, or external, conflict is frequently a matter of system perspective, which must be determined by requirements of the problem, the method of analysis, and the theory of the investigator Lewin — An actor who has the capacity for absorbing or destroying another actor may be viewed as dominant.

An actor who cannot be absorbed by another actor or destroyed as an independent decision maker is sovereign or unconditionally viable. Conversely, the actor who survives only through the sufferance of another, dominant, party is said to be conditionally viable. Here the problem is how to control the conflict, i. Each actor or system individual, group, organization, nation-state, and so forth may be viewed as responding to various stimuli, including projections of his or its own needs, desires, and expectations.

Within the first view, each choice-point offers alternatives to which some combination of perceived rewards and penalties is attached. In connection with the second view, behavior or action may be seen as the carrying out of a process that moves the system toward the most highly valued part of the total image.

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Conflict generally emerges whenever at least one party perceives that one or more of his goals, or purposes, or preferences, or means for achieving a goal or preference is being threatened or hindered by the intentions or activities of one or more other parties. The parties may be seeking to move or expand into the same field or physical space, or, more abstractly, into the same field of influence or behavior Boulding , p.

Party A perceives—rightly or wrongly —that he is being threatened or injured by party B. Taking what he considers to be defensive action, A behaves in a way that B perceives as injurious or threatening. As the reciprocal threats and injuries rise, the parties may find no alternative other than to fight it out until one has reduced the other to submission. On the other hand, at some point the penalties associated with an added increment of hostility may appear too great to one or both parties, and the conflict may decelerate.

In due course, however, the anxieties, fears, and discomforts associated with their basic relationship are likely to become unbearable again, and the spiraling will resume. Essentially, the cold war is such a conflict in that it vacillates between a plateau of minimal, day-today conflict and occasional peaks where the hostile interchange stops just short of large-scale violence.

The initial perception of threat or injury may or may not be accurate or justified. Many conflicts arise from what parties think may happen—from their anxieties, prejudices, fears, and uncertainties —rather than from any phenomenon that is actually threatening. Conversely, even where actors are aware of incompatibility, there may be no actual conflict if there is no strong desire on the part of at least one party to carry out the means—or achieve the ends —which are, or appear to be, incompatible Boulding , p.

Whether competitive situations become conflictual may depend, then, upon whether the incompatibility is perceived and also upon whether the issues involved are considered important by the parties.

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Conflict suggests a special situation of competition in which both actors are aware of the incompatibility of potential future positions and in which each is strongly impelled to occupy a position incompatible with the perceived interests of the other. Yet conflict is inherent in the trading set: each party is likely to seek a maximum advantage that cannot be achieved without reducing the advantage of the other party. A satisfactory trade can be achieved only if both parties, tacitly or otherwise, observe certain rules and limitations.

In each case, neither side is seeking to destroy the other nor to inflict more than the limited amount of injury that has been more or less agreed upon and stipulated by the rules of their competitive game.