|Title:||"Carthage Must Be Saved": Fear of Enemies and Collective Action|
|Name:||Ioannis D. Evrigenis|
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Eaton Hall, Medford, MA 02155
(617) 627 4106
Fax: (617) 627 3660
Theories of collective action tend to focus exclusively on positive unifying characteristics, and thus often fail to explain fully why political groups form and act. This dissertation develops a theory of "Negative Association", and studies the formation, consolidation, and preservation of political groups based on how their members differ from an outside entity, as in the case of a common enemy. Contrast with another is a necessary step towards the self-definition of human beings. The most intense such contrast is with the source of an existential threat, and identification of individuals threatened by the same enemy becomes the basis of their association, even if they have nothing else in common.
The survey of the role of negative association through fear in political thought begins with Thucydides' history, wherein the fear of common enemies is the primary motivation for the formation and preservation of alliances, and continues with a reassessment of the role of security in Aristotle's Politics, before turning to Sallust and the Roman historians, who saw the threat of Carthage as the main reason for Roman unity.
Negative association finds its fullest expression in Hobbes, whose political theory is preceded by a detailed account of human psychology, in which others and fear play important roles. Interpreters of Hobbes's political theory often claim that association between individuals in the state of nature is impossible. Despite this popular misconception, Hobbes argues that association for security from common enemies is the means of transition from the state of nature to the state of society.
Hobbes's theory became the main source of influence for Schmitt, for whom the friend- enemy distinction is the fundamental political criterion, and Morgenthau, who incorporated the central aspects of Schmitt's theory into his own version of political Realism. His influence on these two thinkers explains in large measure why Hobbes has come to be considered a key thinker among theorists of international relations. The dissertation concludes by showing that a world state is impossible, because the absence of a sufficiently universal threat renders political association on a global level unsustainable.