Although, as many scholars state, hierarchical social groups arose in order to manage conflicts among individuals (Sapolsky 1999), it is clear that social stratification may be a source for new conflicts. Thus societies can exist only on condition that an equilibrium between conflicting and cooperative factors is maintained. What are the cognitive mechanisms underlying this balance? Among the models facing this issue, some lay a crucial function on emotional devices. Intuitively it may seem that rational argumentation plays the leading role in negotiation but there is an interesting tradition introduced by Darwin (1872) that highlights the importance of emotions in interactional cohesiveness (Gratch et al. 2006). In this article we discuss the reasons why the hypothesis that a main system grounding the rise of societies and the negotiation of conflicts is represented by emotions seems to be persuasive. Specifically, in a phylogenetic perspective we will make reference to a specific phenomenon characterized by emotional elements that has had an adaptive value in terms of cohesion and cooperation among groups: ritual (Alcorta and Sosis 2005; de Waal and Aureli 1996; de Waal and Lanting 1997). However, some scholars point out that such cohesive property is combined with another opposite feature: namely, the emotional nature of ritual can feed conflict by turning the symbols of groups into sacralized values (Ginges et al. 2007). In this sense, the deep emotions that engender group cohesion are also elements advancing out-group hostility (Wilson 2012). In light of these considerations, the analysis of the emotional components tied to collective rituals gives an interesting interpretation of the relationship between conflicts and integration.

Chiera, A. (2015). The Price of Being Social. The Role of Emotions in Feeding and Minimizing Conflicts. In I.P. Francesca D’Errico (a cura di), Conflict and multimodal communication: Social research and machine intelligence (pp. 103-114). Berlin : Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.

The Price of Being Social. The Role of Emotions in Feeding and Minimizing Conflicts

CHIERA, ALESSANDRA
2015-01-01

Abstract

Although, as many scholars state, hierarchical social groups arose in order to manage conflicts among individuals (Sapolsky 1999), it is clear that social stratification may be a source for new conflicts. Thus societies can exist only on condition that an equilibrium between conflicting and cooperative factors is maintained. What are the cognitive mechanisms underlying this balance? Among the models facing this issue, some lay a crucial function on emotional devices. Intuitively it may seem that rational argumentation plays the leading role in negotiation but there is an interesting tradition introduced by Darwin (1872) that highlights the importance of emotions in interactional cohesiveness (Gratch et al. 2006). In this article we discuss the reasons why the hypothesis that a main system grounding the rise of societies and the negotiation of conflicts is represented by emotions seems to be persuasive. Specifically, in a phylogenetic perspective we will make reference to a specific phenomenon characterized by emotional elements that has had an adaptive value in terms of cohesion and cooperation among groups: ritual (Alcorta and Sosis 2005; de Waal and Aureli 1996; de Waal and Lanting 1997). However, some scholars point out that such cohesive property is combined with another opposite feature: namely, the emotional nature of ritual can feed conflict by turning the symbols of groups into sacralized values (Ginges et al. 2007). In this sense, the deep emotions that engender group cohesion are also elements advancing out-group hostility (Wilson 2012). In light of these considerations, the analysis of the emotional components tied to collective rituals gives an interesting interpretation of the relationship between conflicts and integration.
9783319140810
Chiera, A. (2015). The Price of Being Social. The Role of Emotions in Feeding and Minimizing Conflicts. In I.P. Francesca D’Errico (a cura di), Conflict and multimodal communication: Social research and machine intelligence (pp. 103-114). Berlin : Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/300025
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