Г. Lasswell as father of political psychology
A characteristic for the behaviourist approach is the concept of Lasswell, in which three levels of the political language are distinguished: myth, doctrine and formula. Myth is the basic perspective of the consideration of political reality, which is chosen by a given social group. With the help of the myth, the framework of an acceptable political dialogue for a given society is established, it contains key signs and symbols of this dialogue. Thanks to the myth, the possible forms of using power are justified.
At the level of the doctrine, the basic expectations and demands of society are formulated. The functions of the doctrine include retaining a certain area of political life in the subordination of a certain group of officials and in justifying the actions of this group.
At the level of the formula, the policy language performs descriptive and prescriptive functions with respect to the details of the social structure. The political formula is a specific embodiment of political doctrine. Each of the named & quot; policy languages & quot; - myth, doctrine and formula - is used at the appropriate level to justify competing political goals, actions and structures. Competing political myths, doctrines and formulas are competing views on the nature of social justice.
The significance of the "policy language", according to Lasswell, is revealed by its correlation with specific forms of political activity. Very significant for Lasswell's concept is the distinction he makes between the "policy language" and "the language of science". & quot; Policy Language & quot; is & quot; inducing & quot; by its nature, its function is an impact on a system of the type "who gets what, when and how". & quot; Language of Science & quot; is addressed to reality and informative in nature. This distinction is based on the difference between values and facts.
F. Lasswell put forward a concept in which democratic political power is seen as a mechanism for the centralized distribution of values. The basis of this theory, developed later in the postwar work "Policy Language", is the notion of political power as an instrument for achieving concerted, purposeful activity that is not based on the use of physical violence.
F. Lasswell distinguishes the functions of the language in accordance with the intentions of using it and the results of use. When the goal is to influence the power and this is to some extent achieved, we are talking about the function of the political language. This concept presupposes the existence of two more possibilities. The first is unintended influence on power, the second - in the absence of any intention to influence it. It should be noted that political intentions and their consequences should not necessarily exclude economic and other goals and consequences.
When we talk about political science, we mean the science of power. Power is the making of decisions. The decision is an authorized choice, which, if evaded, threatens with severe sanctions. When we consider any language function, we study the ambiguous relationship between function and language. The main questions we ask are: what is the effect of a function on language and language on a function?
When we examine the impact of a function on a language, we are interested in two aspects of the language - semantic and syntactic. Political semantics study key terms, slogans and doctrines in terms of how they are understood. Researchers of political syntax deal with logical and grammatical relations. Historians who report on the dictionary of power in this political education, supply raw material to political semantics. Often historians of political doctrines reveal their inconsistency and, in this sense, contribute to the political syntax.
In analyzing political semantics, there are two sides of the subject: one is related to the purpose of the utterance, the other is to its style. Representatives of political science in the process of learning the language introduced several broad concepts, among them the concept of a political myth. The whole set of beliefs of a given time can in principle be reduced to certain fundamental provisions, which, regardless of their correctness, the masses consider correct with such a degree of conviction that they can hardly be accepted as assumptions. The political myth covers "fundamental assumptions" relating to political events. It consists of symbols designed not only to explain, but also to justify the special practice of power. The term & quot; myth & quot; should not be interpreted as necessarily implying the imaginary, false or irrational character of these symbols, although such an assumption is often justified.
The political doctrine consists of the basic expectations and requirements concerning the relations and practices of power in society. A clear distinction between the hypotheses of political science and the expectations and requirements of political philosophy has not yet been made.
The political formula is part of a political myth detailing and prescribing a social structure. The term is borrowed from G. Mosca, which also means what we called political doctrine. If political doctrine is a "philosophy of state and government", then the political formula includes the legal foundations of society. The doctrine is, so to speak, the postulates of the formula. Hence its pure presence in the preambles of the constitutions, while the latter are an important means of expressing the formula. In other words, the political formula in specific and more or less specific models of power expresses the content of political doctrine. The political doctrine of the divine right of the king, for example, is developed in the political formula as a system of royal prerogatives, the order of succession of the throne, the power model for the subordinate nobility, etc.
In any modern state there are, at least, specialists in the repetition, development and application of political myth. The diocese of a political philosopher is a doctrine, lawyers focus on the formula, people of action introduce doctrine and formula into the routine of life.
A simple person, of course, only by chance can attract the subtleties of a philosopher or lawyer, and even many political leaders. Nevertheless, in the statements of the common man and man, thoughts or actions have a common denominator. All of them resort to key symbols.
A key symbol is the main element of a political myth. In the US, the key symbols are "rights", "freedom", "democracy", "equality". These terms are used in intricate professorial treatises, during court hearings, in arguments that are heard in congress halls or at street crossroads of the country.
One of the main tasks of political science is to study the factors that ensure the dissemination of political doctrines and formulas or limiting them. This, of course, requires studying the historical and modern ways of spreading political myths and analyzing the contributing and constraining factors. The & quot; content analysis & quot; was developed for these factors.
From a purely formal point of view, you should classify any changes in the political language as "additions", "losses" and & quot; variations & quot ;. A more meaningful classification of changes in language in relation to the past: & quot; revival & quot; or & quot; innovation & quot ;. After establishing the fact of a revival or innovation, the question arises whether the change is "progressive" or & quot; reaction & quot; character. We define a model that promotes the approximation of a free society, as progressive.
When studying the processes of proliferation and inhibition (doctrines, formulas), there is a need for a general theory of language as a factor in the administration of power.
Under the power of Lasswell understands the relationship between people, during which certain alternatives in the case of resistance are imposed by force. Words are included in the mechanism of power, because their manifestations can be largely verbal (instruction - submission, offer - support, etc.). Words participate in the reorganization of power: in revolutionary agitation, in constitutional innovations.
The problem can be formulated as follows: under what conditions do words affect the attitude to power. It is necessary to determine what words from the environment surrounding the audience will influence it in one way or another, given the certain predisposition of a part of this audience (other environmental factors are assumed to be permanent); when they meet with support, and when they cause a negative reaction: a revolutionary appeal, a reformist appeal, a call for radical or moderate action. The general law of power can be clearly articulated: when people seek power, they act according to the expectations of reaching the limit of power. Consequently, symbols (words and images) affect the power as well as the expectations of the authorities.
When checking or applying these provisions in practice, you need to know some facts about each given audience. What symbols, in her opinion, signify power and express changes in the degree of power? How do communication tools penetrate the realm of this audience and how does the relation to these tools affect the construction of symbols? How does the style of the statement affect the attitude to its task?
F. Lasswell argued that the mass itself does not know what it wants and what its interests are. This judgment, of course, did not correlate with classical bourgeois liberalism (J. Locke, A. Smith), because the rationalism of that time proceeded from the premise that every man "his own head" and no one better than himself can not know what he wants. The point of the American psychologist's reasoning was that the political specialist has the right to lead the "incompetent mass" in the name of competent knowledge. The situation changed radically. In the words of Pasternak, a different drama arose, and at the same time a new idea about the role of the psychologist appeared. The expression "political psychiatrist" came into use.
F. Lasswell published a series of interesting articles on the "political personality". Soon he undertook a series of trips to Europe, where he was carried away by psychoanalysis. Moreover, he even went through a lengthy psychoanalytic therapy. The result of these hobbies was the book "Psychopathology and politics". The young political scientist immediately gained wide popularity and was recognized as the founder of political psychology. The work was rated as classical.
The main content of the book is related to the problem of motivating political behavior. As Lasswell believed, the behavior of the leaders and the masses is conditioned by unconscious motives. As for psychopathological abnormalities, their cause is childhood trauma. Later, these mental deformations and stresses are fixed as a result of "technological shifts" in society.
According to Lasswell, technological innovations inevitably generate social tensions and frustrations that are everywhere threatening to make the political process irrational. People present their own personal problems and motives in the political arena. However, these inner motives they, often unconsciously, disguise and justify all sorts of public interests, goals and ideals. Personality is driven by a limited set of aspirations, and conscious and unconscious motives are often intertwined. The political leader seeks to receive as many benefits as possible. The main acquisition is power. It allows you to get all the other benefits and even multiply them.
F. Lasswell believed that he managed to combine the Marxist analysis of political practice with elements of Freudianism. In particular, he was convinced that he was able to find the hidden psychological implication, which generates the participation of the masses in the revolutionary and political movement. G. Lasswell tried to show that the desire for unlimited power and enrichment gives rise to mass psychopathological phenomena.
The American researcher Karen Horney in the work of 1937. "The neurotic personality of our time," considering the phenomenon of power, came to the conclusion that the need for domination, in the willingness to control the destinies of other people, can also be a manifestation of the psychological norm. It's a different matter when people captured by neuroses tend to dictate over other people. Illusion & quot; normal & quot; power still lived in the minds of political psychologists. However, after the Second World War, this illusion faded away instantly.
Conservative commentator George Will called Bill Clinton "a sociopath from politics". The liberal Thomas Friedman wrote bitterly on the pages of the "New York Times": It's hard to listen to what the president says when you're ashamed to even look him in the eye ... But I've already heard enough to understand that the president were with a certain person such relations as should not have been, and that in this way he betrayed all who believed, not even necessarily personally, but in the politics for which he was elected. "
The statement that it is not about the amorous adventures of the president, but only about the fact that he allegedly made his mistress lie at the trial, is only guile. Jimmy Carter, who still enjoys the reputation of the most honest and pious politician, lied about his plans to free hostages in Iran. Ronald Reagan and the company clearly lied under oath during a hearing on the case of the supply of arms to Iran and Nicaragua. And nothing - they got away with it all.
A significant contribution to the development of political psychopathology was made by American psychoanalyst Alexander Lowen. His description of the psychopathic personality, of course, is relevant not only to politics. However, the characterization of such features of the politician as lack of love, the desire to maintain total control over everything, utilitarian attitude towards people retain their importance for modern studies of the pathology of political personality.
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