One for All: The Logic of Group Conflict

One for All: The Logic of Group Conflict

by Russell Hardin
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In a book that challenges the most widely held ideas of why individuals engage in collective conflict, Russell Hardin offers a timely, crucial explanation of group action in its most destructive forms. Contrary to those observers who attribute group violence to irrationality, primordial instinct, or complex psychology, Hardin uncovers a systematic exploitation of

Overview

In a book that challenges the most widely held ideas of why individuals engage in collective conflict, Russell Hardin offers a timely, crucial explanation of group action in its most destructive forms. Contrary to those observers who attribute group violence to irrationality, primordial instinct, or complex psychology, Hardin uncovers a systematic exploitation of self-interest in the underpinnings of group identification and collective violence. Using examples from Mafia vendettas to ethnic violence in places such as Bosnia and Rwanda, he describes the social and economic circumstances that set this violence into motion. Hardin explains why hatred alone does not necessarily start wars but how leaders cultivate it to mobilize their people. He also reveals the thinking behind the preemptive strikes that contribute to much of the violence between groups, identifies the dangers of "particularist" communitarianism, and argues for government structures to prevent any ethnic or other group from having too much sway. Exploring conflict between groups such as Serbs and Croats, Hutu and Tutsi, Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants, Hardin vividly illustrates the danger that arises when individual and group interests merge. In these examples, groups of people have been governed by movements that managed to reflect their members' personal interests—mainly by striving for political and economic advances at the expense of other groups and by closing themselves off from society at large. The author concludes that we make a better and safer world if we design our social institutions to facilitate individual efforts to achieve personal goals than if we concentrate on the ethnic political makeup of our respective societies.

Editorial Reviews

American Journal of Sociology - Claus Offe
[The book] is written with acute moral sensitivity by a utilitarian individualist who not only wishes to explain what is going on in the world, but also tries to score points against the political practice, as well as the philosophical theory, of communitarianism.
Journal of Politics - Manus Midlarsky
Hardin is invariably interesting in both his analyses and supporting materials. It is clear that a first-rate mind is at work here. . . . [The book] is innovative in developing the coordination game, reads well, and clearly will stimulate thinking on the future directions of game-theoretic analyses of norm development in social groups. . . . Essential reading.
Canadian Philosophical Reviews - Bart Schultz
An important, provocative assault on communitarianism and multiculturalist political theory and practice. . . . Hardin undoubtedly displays considerable ingenuity in trying to bring rational order to the analysis of Serbs fighting Croats [among many examples]. . . . The range and sophistication of [Hardin's] applications of rational choice theory is breathtakingly adroit.
Political Science - Keith Dowding
This is a marvelous book written with passion yet analytic attention.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 1996 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Government and Political Science, Association of American Publishers

"[The book] is written with acute moral sensitivity by a utilitarian individualist who not only wishes to explain what is going on in the world, but also tries to score points against the political practice, as well as the philosophical theory, of communitarianism."—Claus Offe,American Journal of Sociology

"Hardin is invariably interesting in both his analyses and supporting materials. It is clear that a first-rate mind is at work here. . . . [The book] is innovative in developing the coordination game, reads well, and clearly will stimulate thinking on the future directions of game-theoretic analyses of norm development in social groups. . . . Essential reading."—Manus Midlarsky, Journal of Politics

"A probing theoretical analysis of the way in which individuals come to identify with a group, and of their motivations for acting on the group's behalf. . . . The writing is elegant and thoughtful. . . . "Choice

"An important, provocative assault on communitarianism and multiculturalist political theory and practice. . . . Hardin undoubtedly displays considerable ingenuity in trying to bring rational order to the analysis of Serbs fighting Croats [among many examples]. . . . The range and sophistication of [Hardin's] applications of rational choice theory is breathtakingly adroit."—Bart Schultz, Canadian Philosophical Reviews

"This is a marvelous book written with passion yet analytic attention."—Keith Dowding, Political Science

American Journal of Sociology
[The book] is written with acute moral sensitivity by a utilitarian individualist who not only wishes to explain what is going on in the world, but also tries to score points against the political practice, as well as the philosophical theory, of communitarianism.
— Claus Offe
Choice
A probing theoretical analysis of the way in which individuals come to identify with a group, and of their motivations for acting on the group's behalf. . . . The writing is elegant and thoughtful. . . .
Journal of Politics
Hardin is invariably interesting in both his analyses and supporting materials. It is clear that a first-rate mind is at work here. . . . [The book] is innovative in developing the coordination game, reads well, and clearly will stimulate thinking on the future directions of game-theoretic analyses of norm development in social groups. . . . Essential reading.
— Manus Midlarsky
Canadian Philosophical Reviews
An important, provocative assault on communitarianism and multiculturalist political theory and practice. . . . Hardin undoubtedly displays considerable ingenuity in trying to bring rational order to the analysis of Serbs fighting Croats [among many examples]. . . . The range and sophistication of [Hardin's] applications of rational choice theory is breathtakingly adroit.
— Bart Schultz
Political Science
This is a marvelous book written with passion yet analytic attention.
— Keith Dowding

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400821693
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/15/2001
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
455 KB

What People are saying about this

John Dryzek
Russell Hardin develops a nice counterblast to those who think ethnic conflicts are somehow primordial and irrational. His is an excellent demonstration of what happens when rational choice runs wild in group conflict.
John Dryzek, University of Oregon

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >