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Functionalist model of politics had a great influence on the modern understanding of human behavior in politics. But they operated in the main macro factors, their methods of research and practical recommendations were unsuitable for solving more specific policy objectives. This will require more mentalizing theory of politics, reaching up to the individual. This theoretical orientation has become a political behaviorism. The main objective of this theory – the study of individual behavior in politics in order to optimize the management of this behavior on the part of the elite. For this purpose, use a wide range of proper psychological methods.
The basic idea of the classical behaviorism is directly borrowed from political science, psychology – the idea of direct influence of the environment on the behavior of the individual. Political behavior is subject to the old formula of behaviorists: S-R (stimulus – response). For example, wanting to understand the phenomenon of political alienation political behaviorists suggest a formula of “basic social conditions – political behavior.” Researchers remains measure first and second parameters, and to find the correlation between them. With this approach, the value of situational factors clearly prevails over the intrinsic activity of the individual. Use our essay writing services provided by experienced writers. Radical behaviorism species using the formula of “stimulus – response” primarily to control the behavior of an individual or by using their terminology – for “behavior modification.” The leading theorist of this trend, the American psychologist BF Skinner formulated this thought with the utmost clarity: “It is a mistake to believe that the problem lies in how to set people free. It is to improve the control over them. ” Arguments B. Skinner served as a “scientific” basis for justifying violent programs control the behavior of citizens of the most barbaric means, including genetic engineering, aversive therapy and electroshock.
The extremes of radical political behaviorism – both political and methodological properties – not shared by many researchers. Thus, representatives of the school of social learning model of behavior soften hard to include a number of intermediate variables (installation, opinions, and even the personality as a whole). A step forward was and inclusion in the analysis of the political behavior of its substantial components – values to which an individual learns in the process of getting life experience.
Consider now the second – anti-positivist – the type of theoretical models of joint political psychology.
Reaction to the neglect of political behaviorists and functionalists of the inner world of man was highlighting the anti-positivist concepts. In European political psychology that turn came under the influence of phenomenology, existential and representatives of other theoretical schools, challenged the positivist interpretation of the problem of personality. In the U.S., the UK and positivist concepts have been criticized by many theorists are not many practitioners in need of more effective management models of human behavior. Disappointed with the methods directly impact on behavior, these professionals have turned to the study of consciousness, proposed (cognitivism and humanistic psychology) and the unconscious structures of the psyche and ongoing psychoanalysis.
Cognitivist direction of political psychology primarily explores the process of political thinking. According to the general views of psychologists of the school choice model of political behavior is mediated by the views and values that constitute the human mind. Some researchers with a focus on the process of formation of political consciousness, the other is more interested in its structure.
In the past two decades, the focus of research has been done not only on the dynamics of the formation of political thought as a child, how much on what is guided by an adult, making their political choices. Thus, the English political psychologist X. Himmelvayt invited “consumer model”, in which she draws an analogy between the political decision and the decision of the buyer the choice of a product. A voter who votes for one candidate or another, looking for their best-fit installations party programs or smallest discrepancies between them. The habit of voting for a particular party is similar to the attachment to a specific store or company, and the impact of reference groups is similar to the impact of lifestyle of our friends or colleagues at our attachments. ”
Works cognitive scientists have shown that in countries with a stable political system, where voters do have a habit of voting for a particular party, the political consciousness of citizens filled certain “package of ideas.” At the level of individual psychology ideology, which became part of human consciousness, appears in the form of a bundle of ideas in a single package. So set on the British atomic weapons were correlated with their attitude towards the nationalization of public transport and health care, immigration and the death penalty.
Two other British political psychologist P. Dunleavy and P. Saunders used the “consumer model” to describe a new social stratification that occurs in the modern post-industrial society on the lines are not the relations of production and consumption of goods and services. The political consciousness of the British, for example, is defined today is not only and not so much the size of their income, but rather by whether they have a house in the property or rent it, have to own a car or use public transport if they do shopping in prestigious stores or at the flea market. These subjective line is not less important for the political choice of the voter than their objective class or income level.
Among antipozitivistkih targeting an important place belongs to the representatives of humanistic psychology, offering to take into account the emotional-motivational sphere of personality in policy analysis. Great influence on the political psychology of the school by the ideas of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and non-directional psychotherapy of Carl Rogers. The ideas of these scholars have been a reaction to the behavioral treatment of the individual as a passive object of the impact of the environment, emphasizing the independent value of the activity of the individual. The driving force behind personal development, to address them are the needs.
Political psychologists attracted to penetrate deeper into the mechanisms of personality formation of political consciousness and behavior through a system of needs. They argued that the most important motive for political participation are not a simple gain or political deal, and the fundamental needs of the individual, which form the basis of its beliefs. These basic requirements are, in turn, the foundation of the actual political systems.
The American political psychologist G. Stanley Renshon used the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to study the problems of democracy. It came from the fact that only a system that meets the basic needs of man, can effectively engage in political activity of its citizens, and to count on their support. One of these requirements, which are important for democracy is a human need to participate, which is on the psychological level is expressed in the establishment of personal control over the situation. Renshon one of the first political psychologists suggested that the study of political issues, in particular democracy, psychological indicators.
If the representatives of humanistic psychology and cognitivists examined the needs, emotions, motives, mechanisms of political thought, which give the individual program of rational action, the political analysis the focus is on the structures of the unconscious psyche. Currently, this area is one of the most common, especially among American scholars. The task of political psychoanalysis – the study of the political structures of the person, the classification of personality types and the creation of psychobiography politicians.