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From perceptions to hostilities: An experimental study of realistic and symbolic threats
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, I will argue that the role different types of perceived threat play is fundamental for how people can become more hostile or violent. Scholars have previously studied how threat perceptions can lead to outgroup hostilities and violent attitudes. Sometimes they have distinguished between realistic threats, those pertaining to wellbeing, safety and economic resources, and symbolic threats, related to culture, identity and values. Yet, despite previous research, systematic experimental evidence is scarce. Therefore, this thesis has attempted to answer the question of how realistic and symbolic threat perceptions affect outgroup hostilities through a novel survey-experimental design (n = 97) making use of Amazon’s MTurk for recruitment. It found that those exposed to a realistically framed threat exhibit more pragmatist attitudes, whereas those exposed to a symbolically framed threat leaned towards more vicious responses, although these latter results lacked statistical significance. This thesis found no difference in violent attitudes for these two types of perceived threat. These findings are important as they teach us how people can become more hostile, and how we can be aware of how actors, such as politicians, can use threat framing to achieve certain objectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 68
Keywords [en]
threat perceptions, realistic threat, symbolic threat, outgroup hostilities, violent attitudes, experimental design
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Social Psychology Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-353783OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-353783DiVA, id: diva2:1219126
Subject / course
Peace and Conflict Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-06-21 Created: 2018-06-15 Last updated: 2018-06-21Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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