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Collision of Wills: How Ambiguity about Social Rank Breeds Conflict

af Roger V. Gould

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
1211,294,561 (4.25)Ingen
Minor debts, derisive remarks, a fight over a parking space, butting in line--these are the little things that nevertheless account for much of the violence in human society. But why? Roger V. Gould considers this intriguing question in Collision of Wills. He argues that human conflict is more likely to occur in symmetrical relationships--among friends or social equals--than in hierarchical ones, wherein the difference of social rank between the two individuals is already established. This, he maintains, is because violence most often occurs when someone wants to achieve superiority or dominance over someone else, even if there is no substantive reason for doing so. In making the case for this original idea, Gould explores a diverse range of examples, including murders, blood feuds, vendettas, revolutions, and the everyday disagreements that compel people to act violently. The result is an intelligent and provocative work that restores the study of conflict to the center of social inquiry.… (mere)
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I read this book some years ago as it was making its way, hand-to-hand, between a series of friends and relatives. It remains a forceful presence with respect to my understanding of human relationships and as a touchstone for my work as an actor. Conflict is, of course, central to our experience with others – as it is to our own inner lives. Gould’s focus on symmetrical social status as a harbinger of conflict is, frankly, revelatory. For most people, acknowledging the importance of social status in our own lives is verboten; however, it inarguably drives our behavior. There are constantly stories in the news of confrontations over seemingly irrelevant matters escalating to murderous proportions; Gould offers a plausible explanation as to why these cases are the rule rather than the exception. There are deep and abiding existential reasons for our anger and our propensity to fight, and this book touches very near their heart. ( )
  Narboink | Aug 3, 2009 |
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Minor debts, derisive remarks, a fight over a parking space, butting in line--these are the little things that nevertheless account for much of the violence in human society. But why? Roger V. Gould considers this intriguing question in Collision of Wills. He argues that human conflict is more likely to occur in symmetrical relationships--among friends or social equals--than in hierarchical ones, wherein the difference of social rank between the two individuals is already established. This, he maintains, is because violence most often occurs when someone wants to achieve superiority or dominance over someone else, even if there is no substantive reason for doing so. In making the case for this original idea, Gould explores a diverse range of examples, including murders, blood feuds, vendettas, revolutions, and the everyday disagreements that compel people to act violently. The result is an intelligent and provocative work that restores the study of conflict to the center of social inquiry.

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