Applying sociological perspectives to war and terrorism
Supplementary Materials (Videos and Reading)
- The Lucifer Effect – Understanding the Extreme Transformation of Good People to Evil People
In a compelling story of his own life's journey, Phil Zimbardo juxtaposes his famous Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) and the equally famous Milgram experiment on obedience to authority with the scandalous events at the Abu Ghraib prison during the war in Iraq. The title, The Lucifer Effect, refers to the extreme transformative arc from good to evil that God’s favorite angel Lucifer underwent, and provides a context within which to examine lesser human transformations from good to evil. His main point is that while individuals should be held responsible for their own conduct, we must also examine the Situational and Systemic factors that shape individual conduct. We must accept that there aren't just bad apples, but bad barrels, and in turn bad barrel makers. Zimbardo's three tiered analysis categories are: Person, Situation, and System. The conclusion of the book proposes to continue to study the power of Situational and Systemic forces that can influence normal individuals to commit evil, inhumane acts, but also with the thought of turning that influence in the direction of heroic, humane behavior.
- Sociological Perspective of War and Terrorism – Creative Commons
Theoretical Perspective – Major assumptions on war and terrorism: Definitions of several concepts also play an important role in public opinion regarding war and terrorism.
- Symbolic Interactionism: Symbols such as the flag play an important role in marshaling support for war.
- Conflict Theory: War and militarism primarily advance the interests of the military-industrial complex and take billions of dollars from unmet social needs.
- Functionalism: War and terrorism serve several important functions. For example, they increase social solidarity as a society unites to defeat a perceived enemy. Some wars have also helped preserve freedom and democracy.
- Sociological Perspectives on War and Terrorism (numerous article links)
- The Sociology of War – Oxford