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Groups

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Groups

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  1. Groups

  2. Recap: Market theories • Hold only under stringent conditions • Games have clear, cardinal payoffs • Payoffs are common knowledge • Indefinite iterations of game with same players • Even so, only in very small groups • In large groups, it is too difficult to know what players did (either C or D) in previous interactions • High monitoring costs

  3. Market theories, cont’d • Further, at least some of these theories suggest that market approaches are most likely to produce cooperation (instead of just coordination) when people are following rules (eg Schelling). • Where might these rules come from? Is government the only source?

  4. Groups • In all societies people belong to a variety of groups • Families, churches, athletic clubs, firms, etc. • These groups are related to overall social order in complex ways.

  5. Groups • Social groups can be very powerful • E.g. gender roles

  6. Groups • Groups can teach people values • Groups can enforce norms

  7. Social order via values Values are • General and relatively durable internal criteria for evaluation • General = they apply in many different situations • Relatively durable = they don’t change very often • Internal = they are inside our heads, and directly motivate action • Do not require external incentives • Evaluation = they tell us what is good and bad

  8. Sigmund Freud

  9. Freud • People try to maximize their happiness • the “pleasure principle” • Infants want their mother’s breast, but it is not always available • This perception  distinction between self (ego) and the external world • The “reality principle” – you can’t always get satisfaction

  10. Freud, cont’d • How the infant copes with the mother’s absence or disapproval • By taking the parent into the self (super-ego), and allowing that internal parent to monitor its behavior • Evidence for the super-ego • A sense of guilt

  11. The fundamental aspect of civilization • The replacement of the power of the individual with the power of the community • Individual liberty was no gift of civilization; it was greatest before civilization existed • The urge for freedom is directed against civilization

  12. The parallel between individual and social development • Just as the developing individual is led to renounce initial desires for sensual pleasures, so civilization depends on a renunciation of instinct • Namely, the individual desire to maximize personal freedom

  13. Human nature: sexuality and aggressiveness • Sexuality is a fundamental motivator of human behavior • (derived from the pleasure principle) • Sexuality threatens social order because • Unregulated sex • Leads to interpersonal conflict (over love objects) – hence social disorder • Drains energy from economic productivity

  14. Man is instinctively aggressive

  15. Human nature must be contained to attain social order • Society employs a variety of methods to regulate sexuality and aggressiveness • The incest taboo – common to all societies • The sexual urges of children are discouraged, so that their adult lusts can be controlled later on • Many societies outlaw anything but heterosexual genital love • Religions implore people to love their neighbors, etc. • But these methods are largely unsuccessful

  16. Freud’s solution • The super-ego • i.e. the conscience • Solution: strengthen the super-ego

  17. Freud: the price of social order • The superego creates guilt; therefore we are less happy. • Trade-off between civilization and individual happiness

  18. Freud: Summary of causal relations and mechanisms • Macro-level cause: dependence • Situational mechanisms: people desire love, want to avoid punishment, transfer of aggression to the super-ego • Individual internal state: super-ego • Behavioral mechanisms: guilt • Individual behavior: prosocial behavior

  19. Freud: Draw the theory Dependence Super-ego Prosocial behavior

  20. Freud • How do we know if the theory has merit? • Look at the empirical world • Freud’s argument suggests that children who receive unpredictable nurturing (for example, those in orphanages or with neglectful parents) will be poorly socialized, and in turn, behave in antisocial ways.

  21. Emile Durkheim

  22. Durkheim • Wanted to understand suicide • Existing solutions are inadequate • Mental illness • Heredity • Environment (climate and temperature) • Durkheim turned to social factors

  23. Egoistic suicide • Observation: Higher rates of suicide among • Protestants vs. Catholics • Single males vs. married males • Families with few children vs. families with many children Why?

  24. Egoistic suicide • Individualism  suicide • Single people are more individualistic than people with spouses and children • Families act as • Support structures • Rationales for living when times get tough • Social integration  low suicide, conformity to norms, social order

  25. Mechanisms for egoistic suicide • People want to be attached to something greater than themselves • They want a purpose • If the individual is sufficiently integrated, the social group provides that purpose.

  26. Altruistic suicide • Results from too little individualism; too much social integration • Evidence • Tribal societies have high suicide • Armies have higher suicide than civilian populations • Within armies, officers are higher than enlisted men

  27. Altruistic suicide, cont’d • Too much social integration encourages people to sacrifice themselves for their groups/societies • Individual life loses value

  28. Effects of social integration on suicide • Egoistic and altruistic suicide at opposite poles of social integration dimension • Too little integration (= too much individualism) egoistic suicide • Too much integration (= too little individualism)  altruistic suicide

  29. Egoistic/Altruistic suicide: Summary of causal relations and mechanisms • Macro-level cause: group integration • Situational mechanisms: • Individuals need a sense of purpose that can only be provided by the group • Attachment to the group increases attachment to group values • Individual internal state: individualism • Behavioral mechanism: people behave in accordance with internalized values – if weak, one is vulnerable to discouragement; if strong, one has little sense of self-preservation • Individual behavior: suicide • Transformational mechanism: aggregation • Macro-level outcome: suicide rates

  30. Egoistic/Altruistic Suicide: Draw the theory Suicide rates Integration Individualism/ purpose Individual suicide

  31. Anomic suicide Evidence • Suicide higher in economic depressions • Suicide higher in economic booms • Suicide rates correlated with divorce rates

  32. Anomic suicide, cont’d • Explanation • Crises inhibit social regulation • Lack of social regulation leads to individual anomie • Anomie = erosion of values • Anomie leads to suicide

  33. Situational mechanisms/assumptions • Human needs/desires are unlimited. Individuals cannot create their own limits • Thus, the passions must be limited by some exterior, moral force • This force is society • Society is the only moral power superior to the individual, the authority of which he accepts • Without societal regulation, individual desires are infinite. Individuals are in a state of anomie.

  34. Situational mechanisms, cont’d • Society determines the rewards offered for every type of human activity • There is social consensus about the relative values of different occupations • Everyone realizes the limits of his ambitions and strives for nothing more • This limits the passions

  35. Behavioral mechanisms/assumptions • People are content when they get the socially appropriate (‘just’) rewards • No one can be happy without limits • Anomie is an unhappy condition • Anomie  Suicide

  36. Durkheim • In sum • Social crises erode consensus about appropriate expectations and rewards • Without regulation, desires are infinite. Infinite desires produce misery. • Misery  suicide

  37. Effects of Regulation on Suicide • Anomic and fatalistic suicide are at opposite poles of the regulation dimension. • Too little regulation  anomic suicide • Too much regulation  fatalistic suicide

  38. Anomic Suicide: Summary of causal relations and mechanisms • Macro-level cause: social crisis/lack of regulation • Situational mechanism: • Individuals have limitless desires • Can only be limited by society • Individual internal state: Anomie • Behavioral mechanism: Anomie makes one miserable • Individual behavior: suicide • Transformational mechanism: aggregation • Macro-level outcome: suicide rates

  39. Anomic Suicide: Draw the theory Social crisis/lack of regulation Suicide rates Individual anomie Individual suicide

  40. Suicide rates: an indicator of social disorder • Two causes of suicide • Social integration • Egoistic suicide • Altruistic suicide • Social regulation • Anomic suicide • Fatalistic suicide

  41. A schematic view of Suicide High incidence of suicide Fatalistic suicide Social regulation Egoistic suicide Altruisticsuicide Social integration Anomic suicide High incidence of suicide

  42. What can be done to increase social order? • Marx/Engels say • Private property  conflict; thus abolish private property • Freud responds • Aggressiveness was not created by property – it reigned without limit in primitive times • Durkheim says • Strengthen religion and common values (the conscience collective) • Freud: social regulation guilt • Durkheim: social regulation  contentment

  43. Alexis de Tocqueville

  44. Tocqueville • What is the connection between groups and other institutions such as government? • Groups exist in societies with governments • Do groups complement government or undermine it?

  45. Tocqueville’s Democracy in America • A French aristocrat visits the U. S. A. in the 1830’s • Compares American democracy to European aristocracy • Focuses on the role of voluntary associations • Freedom of association restricted in aristocracies; believed to cause social disorder

  46. Tocqueville • Social isolation  despotism

  47. In democracies • To obtain political support, each person must lend his neighbors his cooperation • People seek to attract the esteem and affection of those in the midst of whom they must live • Self-interested action declines

  48. If equality  individualism, then how to produce social order? • When people are involved with trying to address local problems, they realize how interdependent they are.

  49. Role of associations in combating individualism • In aristocratic societies, individual nobles can accomplish great things because they can call on the aid of their dependents. In democratic societies, where all are roughly equal and weak, collective action is more problematic – and for that reason, more important. A principal basis for this collective action occurs in voluntary associations (321). • If government replaces voluntary associations, then people will need to turn to government more.

  50. Role of associations, cont’d • When people are involved in voluntary associations, they learn to bend their will to the common good. • This suggests that freedom of association contributes to order, rather than threatens it.