chapter  9
16 Pages

The Catch-22 of Intractable Conflicts: The Role of Pride and Humiliation in Conflicts and Peace Processes

One of the most important contributions of social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) to the understanding of group processes is the idea that people’s self-image and self-esteem are derived heavily from their identification with certain social groups. In other words, the identification with positively evaluated social groups helps people to maintain positive views of themselves. Given the central role intractable conflicts play in the lives of the involved individuals, the main target for the identification of those individuals is the social, ethnic, or national group that reflects their position within that conflict. As such, this relevant group constitutes the main group-based source for positive self-esteem, based on group affiliation. This raises the question of the emotional processes that contribute to the induction or reduction of that positive image throughout the dynamics of intractable conflicts. In the current chapter I focus on two of the most powerful players in that game, intergroup pride and humiliation, suggesting that both play a central role in preventing people and societies from making meaningful progress toward the resolution of intractable conflicts.