Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences
For a very long period of human history the direct physical violence used to be one of the main means of obtaining power, wealth, and prestige. It was also a common technique of social control, socialization of children and regulation of social relations. However, human societies were also developing various ways of controlling and curtailing direct violence primarily the in-group one. Traditional cultures and traditional mentality contain both various injunctions inhibiting violence and also the requirements that incite it. The major changes in the social functions of violence were associated with the development of liberal thought and liberal institutions – free market and democratic political system. Liberal culture and liberal mentality have delegitimized all kind of physical violence except as defense of human rights and freedoms. Nevertheless, the tendency to using violence as a mean of attaining political, economic or ideological goals have not disappeared. They are being justified by ideologies that grew out of transformation the traditional (conservative) thought into Right Wing Authoritarianism and/or Social Dominance Orientation but also transformation the liberal thought into Libertarianism. These ideologies facilitate the change of competitions and disagreements between social groups into destructive conflicts.
Keywords: violence, democracy, mentality, ideology, group processes, social identity
Cite this article as:
Reykowski, J. (2017). Violence as the recurring means of reaction in group conflicts: Societal perspective. Psychologia Społeczna, 41, 112–129. doi: 10.7366/1896180020174101