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Struggling for Recognition: The Psychological Impetus for Democratic Progress
  • Doron Shultziner, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Are there shared psychological factors that propel social and political change? This book argues that there are and proposes an interdisciplinary theory to the study of social and political change toward more democratic structures. A strong case in made for the vitality of understanding human psychology as the first step to understanding complicated processes, as well as to promoting democratic reforms at present. The book underscores a fundamental psychological facet of human nature, the pursuit of recognition: the disposition to pursue positive self-esteem and status, and the aversion of negative self-esteem, humiliation, and domination more generally. The pursuit of recognition, as the book shows, is the personal irrational impetus for action, serving to overcome fear and rational calculations of costs and benefits involved in collective action. The theory maps and depicts paths and mechanisms in which this disposition is triggered and converted into political pressures leading to democratic progress. In order to bring full meaning to the complexity of democratic progress the book looks at two case studies: the Montgomery bus boycott, and the struggle against apartheid in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, around the Soweto uprising.
  • recognition,
  • democratization,
  • democracy,
  • social movements,
  • political psychology
Publication Date
November, 2010
Continuum Press
Citation Information
Doron Shultziner. Struggling for Recognition: The Psychological Impetus for Democratic Progress. New York(2010)
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