Psychological Factors in Civil Violence

508 words | 2 page(s)

Undoubtedly, I believe that Gurr’s framework can help with better understanding of the increasing civil wars in different parts of the world because of his unbiased, comprehensive framework encompassing many, viable factors. Gurr states that a “ necessary precondition for violent conflict is relative deprivation, defined as actors’ perception of discrepancy between their value expectations and their environment’s apparent value capabilities.” In short, value expectations such as goods and conditions of life to which people believe they are entitled to, if denied, can lead to relative deprivation. The theory that Gurr presents, unlike many others, account for civil strife without references to discontent but his framework takes into account the topic of discontent as a legitimate issue with empirical validation.

Civil violence can outbreak from many events or factors. When citizens become aware of the possibility of frustration, this can serve the same source of anger as actual interference. For example, the 1966 Indian Food riots occurred out of a possible likelihood of frustration. Also, in 2012, the Occupy Wall Street Movement occurred out of a sense of deprivation from college alumni and current college students. In tropical Africa, when they realized that a goal was thought to be far away, this created post-independent violence. All these proposals are very viable because when people are frustrated at a system that seems to not be serving them, they may become disheveled.

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Another factor of discontent that can lead to civil violence is found in people who feel discontent when trying to improve their socioeconomic status. If a person has few prospective employers, or if they have less opportunity to get more skills and education, discontent will occur. For example, in the 1960s, the urban rebellion in Watts was associated with non-effective associational activity and job-training program. To alleviate too much discontent within a society, economists say that government can provide welfare measures as an alternative means of value satisfaction. In this way, I believe governments are not “truly” seeking to help most citizens with the welfare system, because they wouldn’t only seek to “quell” citizens. Instead, more opportunities would be made available to citizens so they themselves could improve their socioeconomic status. Obama stated in his State of the Union speech that he wanted to provide college education free to students who prove themselves. This is an example of how, instead of upping welfare, a government should use measures in their own society to better their citizens.

In Latin America, among other countries, there are coup d’etat, which can be attributed to the lack of adequate alternatives facing elite aspirants with economic ambitions. Basically, rich elitists whose only goal is to upgrade their own socioeconomic status at the expense of their citizens. This definitely explains why there is so much turmoil in Latin America. Civil unrest can have many factors and Gurr shows, through empirical validation, how violent action must be shown to citizens first before they commit a violent crime. Gurr remains unbiased throughout and shows how we are all the same humans but with different surroundings.

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