Research seminar: Grasping emotional dynamics in conflict escalation – University of Copenhagen

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Research seminar: Grasping emotional dynamics in conflict escalation

CRIC invites to the research seminar "Grasping emotional dynamics in conflict escalation" with PhD student Isabel Bramsen and Associate Professor and deputy director of CRIC Poul Poder.

The research seminar will revolve around Isabel and Poul’s paper that discusses conflict theory and emotional dynamics of conflict escalation.

Please register at no later than Thursday, October 16th 2014. The paper will be sent to you when you have registered.

The paper
Although conflict research is increasingly attentive to the importance of emotions, conflict theories fall short when it comes to grasping emerging emotional dynamics of conflict escalation. Reviewing how emotions are described as signs of unmet needs, as biological dispositions, as psychological trauma and climate, as discursive constructions and as affecting rational calculations in conflict theory, we show how emotions are generally reduced to an individual, institutionalized or somewhat irrational phenomena. To more thoroughly appreciate the role of emotions in conflicts we have to see emotions as dynamic forces that emerge in situational interaction. Drawing upon Randall Collins’ interactionist approach and social movement analysis of the Arab Spring we show how emotions are not preconditioned or automatic reactions but generated in specific interactions between people. Moreover, emotions are not just important indicators of what we feel, or products of policies that e.g. “plays on fear” but more generally emergent forces of action and inaction that shapes the course of conflict escalation. We describe how concrete situations of the Arab Spring energized the protesters to overcome fear and humiliation and react to atrocities with righteous anger, outrage and hope. On the basis of this development of situational emotional dynamics as an irreducible level of analysis we conclude by suggesting central research questions to be pursued when moving the study of conflicts forward. 

About research seminars
The research seminar is a forum for academic debate, organized around the paper and is conducted on the assumption that the paper has been read by participants.

Time and place
The seminar will be held in CRIC’s meeting room (25.0.01), Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Copenhagen K, October 20th 2014 from 13.30 to 15.00.