October 04, 2007


Caption: Sometimes these guys get on each other's nerves.

The guiding thread through this week's Goat Rope is social conflict and how it works. You'll also find links and comments about current events. If this is your first visit, please click on earlier posts.

It has long been observed that there's a fine line between love and hate and that sometimes people have some of both kinds of feelings for people they are close to. Freud called it ambivalence. As he wrote in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego,

Almost every intimate emotional relation between two people which lasts for some time--marriage, friendship, the relations between parents and children--leaves a sediment of feeling of aversion and hostility, which have first to be eliminated by repression. This is less disguised in the common wrangles between business partners or in the grumbles of a subordinate at his superior. The same thing happens when men come together in large units. Every time two families become connected by marriage, each of them thinks itself superior to or of better birth than the other. Of two neighboring towns, each is the other's most jealous rival.

The closer the relationship, the more occasions for conflicts of interest and often the more intense the conflicts. As Coser said,

Closely knit groups in which there exists a high frequency of interaction and high personality involvement of the members have a tendency to suppress conflict. While they provide frequent occasions for hostility (since both sentiments of love and hatred are intensified through frequency of interaction), the acting out of such feelings is sensed as a danger to such intimate relationships, and hence there is a tendency to suppress rather than allow the expression of hostile feelings. In close-knit groups, the feelings of hostility tend, therefor, to accumulate and hence to intensify.
If conflict does break out in such a group,

it will be particularly intense for two reasons: First, because the conflict does not merely aim at resolving the immediate issue which led to its outbreak; all accumulated grievances which were denied expression previously are apt to emerge at this occasion. Second, because the total personality involvement of the group members makes for mobilization of all sentiments in the conduct of the struggle.

Speaking of love and hate, one interesting feature of conflict between groups is that it can, with time, bring the opposing parties closer together.

SHAME ON PRESIDENT BUSH for vetoing expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program. In his statement on the subject, the president spoke of the dangers of a federalized health care system. Last I heard, he enjoys federal health care benefits. Yesterday, El Cabrero participated in a press conference protesting that decision. Here's the Gazette coverage.

All of WV's congressional delegation supported CHIP. Gov. Manchin issued a statement that said in part: “I have joined with other states in writing to the president to urge him to sign this legislation into law, and am disappointed in his decision to use his veto power."

NO U.S. TORTURE POLICY 'ROUND HERE. Just the same thing with a different name.

MORE ON THE LOGAN COUNTY VIGIL in support of Megan Williams can be found here.

IMAGE PROBLEM. According to this interesting item from Time, some Christians are giving Christianity a bad name. That problem has been around a while...

IF I'M READING THIS RIGHT, Massey Energy is suing two law firms that represented them and lost. So like...what will happen if the guys filing this one lose?


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