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OP-1.-DEHUMANIZATION AMONG SOLDIERS AND THE EFFECT OF SOCIOPOLITICAL TRANSFORMATIONS ON AGGRESSION

OP-1.1.-DEHUMANIZATION AMONG THE SOLDIERS IN THE FOREIGN MISSION – OCCURRENCE OF DEHUMANIZATION AMONG THE CZECH SOLDIERS IN FORMERLY YUGOSLAVIA

Štrobl, D.
Stress Research Center of Military University of Ground Forces, Prague, Czech Republic

New sort of military operations – called peace missions – has started at the beginning of the nineties. It meant new experiences and new reactions of the soldiers. Dehumanization is not described sufficiently so far, but its consequences are well known. This kind of reaction means a disparaging of value of inhabitants, or members of some ethnic, nation, or religion. It appears if a soldier is faced with a different system of values. Soldier has got his own value system for critical situations - he is the first of all (instinct of self-preservation), then his friends (fellow-fighters), compatriots and at the end the local inhabitants and the enemies as the case may be. It rises if the local people are of different race. It is not racism, but dehumanization. It may explain the bestialities of the American soldiers in Vietnam and many other similar situations. Dehumanization has been observed and examined by the military psychologists of almost all armies of NATO. Occurrence of dehumanization among the Czech soldiers participating in missions in formal Yugoslavia was done by the questionnaire method by personal department of the Ministry of Defense. Dehumanization tendency appeared among almost one third of the Czech missioners. It groves with repeating of the service in mission. It was proved that dehumanization get higher risk of aggressive behavior and gets lower empathy and compassion. Efficient training before mission, including information about race, ethnic and culture of the mission area is necessary. The field psychologists to prevent aggressive reactions of soldiers to the local population must check observation of dehumanization.

OP-1.2.-SOCIOPOLITICAL TRANSFORMATIONS AND VIOLENCE IN SOCIETY:  A CASE STUDY OF  POLAND

Fraczek, A.S.
Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education and Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

The aims of this presentation are as follows: to analyze if patterns of violence in society have changed in a period of peaceful systemic transformations that are ongoing in Poland since 1990; to discuss a sociopsychological mechanisms (e.g. changes in a value system, appearance of the “aggressive culture”models in media,  a dysfunction in societal control, etc.) that explain connections between systemic changes on one hand and dynamic of violence in society on the other; to consider if and what forms of societal control  can prevent  development of violence in society under sociopolitical transformations. Analysis of  available data concerning criminal justice convictions in Poland  in 1990-1999 have shown: steady increase of  different indicators of violence in this period; the most noticeable increase was registered in  “aggressive offenses”, related both to impulsive (e.g. participation in a fight) as well as instrumental  (e.g. robbery with direct assault against  people)  forms of aggression;  a relatively high increase of aggressive offenses appeared  in sub-samples of juvenile males in big cities; -there was no direct relation  between  level of economical deprivation of a region  where people lived and level of aggressive offenses. It can be concluded that the increase of violence in society is one of  a possible costs or side effects of systemic changes toward democracy, effective marked-oriented economy and stable international security. Even  if all above mentioned goals are positively  valued  by distinct majority of a people, it  does not automatically prevent  society from a appearance of  negative phenomena and disturbances in interpersonal and  social life in  a period of systemic changes. However, it seems plausible to assume that  societal conditions and  psychosocial processes  underlying the described increase of violence in society are substantially different than  the mechanisms of destructive violence involved in wars or deadly clashes between representatives of conflicting ideologies.