Title: The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict
Name: Roger Petersen

Arthur and Ruth Sloan Chair of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Year: 2006
Type: Research Grant
Summary: Conflicts involve powerful experiences. The residue of these experiences is captured by the concept and language of emotion. Indiscriminate killing creates fear; targeted violence produces anger and a desire for vengeance; political status reversals spawn resentment; cultural prejudices sustain ethnic contempt. These emotions can become resources for political entrepreneurs. A broad range of Western interventions are based on a view of human nature as narrowly rational. Correspondingly, intervention policy generally aims to alter material incentives ("sticks and carrots") to influence behavior. In response, poorer and weaker actors who wish to block or change this Western implemented 'game' use emotions as resources. This book examines the strategic use of emotion in the conflicts and interventions occurring in the Western Balkans over a twenty-year period. The project concentrates on the conflicts among Albanian and Slavic populations (Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, South Serbia), along with some comparisons to Bosnia.
Bibliography: Petersen, Roger. Western Intervention in the Balkans: The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.