Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to the Study of the Phenomenon of Aggression

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to the Study of the Phenomenon of Aggression

Article excerpt


The article is concerned with the research of the social causes of aggression. The author compares various theoretical approaches to the analysis of the causes of aggressive behavior.

The article substantiates the necessity to develop a systematic approach to the problem of aggression and is explored from the point of sociology view.

Keywords: aggressiveness, destructiveness, theories of human's aggressiveness

1. Introduction

The crisis phenomena in the society, accompanied by as transformation of a public consciousness inevitably lead to changes in people's behavior. Forms of restructuring of individual consciousness and behavior are very various, but, unfortunately, they are mostly accompanied by aggression increase. This fact can be observed both in the official statistical reports on the dynamics of crime and in everyday life and activities. The problem of aggressive behavior is particularly important in terms of global financial crisis, followed by a change in the socio-economic and psychological well-being of people (Serikov, 2013).

Each year analytical company Economist Intelligence Unit publishes rating of peaceful and calm life of citizens (Global Peace Index). Russia is 152th in the rating. Also in the "worst" top ten are: Nigeria, Colombia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Ivory Coast and Angola.

2. Method

Contemporary stage of mankind's development requires a synthesis of the old and development of new theoretical and methodological as well as conceptual foundations of aggression research. In recent years, a wealth factual material in the field of biology, ethnology, psychology, sociology, anthropology and ethnography was accumulated. Despite this, there is an objective need to develop a systematic approach to the problem of aggression, aggressiveness and destructiveness. In addition it is necessary to examine more carefully the phenomenon of aggression from the perspective of social science. Several key points of growth (psychoanalytic tradition, social-psychological theories of aggression, ethology, etc) can be pointed out in the history of the aggression problem research. Sigmund Freud's and Konrad Lorenz's creation initiated formulation and possible interpretations of the aggression problem in its modern form, and also became a methodological and conceptual basis for all subsequent various theories of aggression. A number of fundamental theoretical concepts of aggression and the corresponding categorical construct were formed in the process of numerous studies then. Such foreign scientists as A. Bandura, L. Berkowitz, R. Baron, R. Geen, E. Donnerstein, K. Lorenz, C. Moyer, D. Richardson, J. P. Scott, A. Storr, S. Feshback etc. made a great contribution to the aggression research.

3. Results

3.1 The Origin of Theories of the Nature of Aggression

In order to offer the approach to aggression research, it is necessary to examine carefully the main theoretical approaches to the study of aggression. Konrad Lorenz was the founder of the theory of instinctive behavior. He expounded his views on aggression in his paper "Das sogenannte Böse. Zur Naturgeschichte der Aggression", published in 1963, and then translated in English under the title "On Aggression" in 1966. K. Lorenz defines aggression as "a human or animal instinct of struggle directed against fellows" (Lorenz, 1998). K. Lorenz dwelled on a description only biosocial nature of aggression, not taking into account the social determinancy of aggressive human behavior.

Classical and modern theories of frustration-aggression relate to identifying a specific aggressive motive as an impulse directed at causing of harm to other individuals or inanimate objects. There are several variants of these theories in historical sociological tradition, the main representatives are: L. Berkowitz, R. Geen, E. Donnerstein, S. Feshback and others. Originated in the late 30's-early 40's as a part of the formulated classical hypothesis about frustration-aggression, according to which aggression is always based on frustration and frustration always leads to aggression, frustration-aggression hypothesis initiated intensive experimental studies of the human aggression phenomenon (Dollard, Miller, Mowrer, & Sears, 1939). …

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