Advertisement

The Social Contract Theory Revisited: Examining the Relationship Between Greed, Conflict, and the Evolution of Cooperation

  • August John Hoffman
  • Saul Alamilla
  • Belle Liang
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter will begin by discussing the basic philosophical concepts addressing human nature (i.e., greed, opportunistic behaviors, altruism, and prosocial behaviors) as described by the British empiricists Jean Jacques Rousseau and John Locke. The views of Locke and Rousseau are discussed in the social contract theory and are particularly relevant in examining the relationship between community growth and development, individual human rights, and the rationalization of human greed. We will also discuss how these principles may be applied to groups and communities involving human interaction (i.e., intergroup contact), superordinate goals, and interdependency as essential factors in the development of cooperative alliances and related benefits (i.e., reduced conflict and aggression). Finally, this chapter will explore the history and development of cooperative exchanges and how communities might facilitate the frequency of prosocial, altruistic, and opportunistic behaviors.

Keywords

Altruism Inclusive fitness Reciprocal altruism Prosocial behaviors Cooperative alliances Prisoner’s dilemma Social contract theory Cooperative exchanges “Tit-for-tat” principle in human interaction 

References

  1. Agani, F., Landau, J., & Agani, N. (2010). Community-building before, during, and after times of trauma: The application of the LINC model of community resilience in Kosovo. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(1), 143–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al Ramiah, A., & Hewstone, M. (2013). Intergroup contact as a tool for reducing, resolving, and preventing intergroup conflict. American Psychologist, 68(7), 527–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amichai-Hamburger, Y., & McKenna, K. Y. A. (2006). The contact hypothesis reconsidered: Interacting via the internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 825–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, R., & Hewstone, M. (2005). An integrative theory of intergroup contact. Advances in Experimental and Social Psychology, 37, 255–343.Google Scholar
  5. Cehajic, S., Brown, R., & Castano, E. (2008). Forgive and forget? Antecedents and consequences of intergroup forgiveness in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political Psychology, 29(3), 351–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Tocqueville, A. (2000). Democracy in America (H. C. Mansfield & D. Winthrop, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published in 1835).Google Scholar
  7. Ellis, B. H., & Abdi, S. (2011). Media reporting and Somali youth perspectives [Unpublished data]. Boston, MA: Boston Children’s Hospital.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis, B. H., & Abdi, S. (2017). Building community resilience to violent extremism through genuine partnerships. American Psychologist, 72(3), 289–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gaertner, S. L., Dovidio, J. F., Banker, B. S., Houlette, M., Johnson, K. M., & McGlynn, E. A. (2000). Reducing intergroup conflict: From superordinate goals to decategorization, recategorization, and mutual differentiation. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice, 4(1), 98–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gaertner, S. L., Mann, J. A., Murrell, A. J., & Dovidio, J. F. (1989). Reduction of intergroup bias: The benefits of recategorization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 239–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Glover, T. D., Shinew, K. J., & Parry, D. C. (2005). Association, sociability, and civic culture: The democratic effect of community gardening. Leisure Sciences, 27, 75–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hobbes, T. (1651). Leviathon. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Locke, J. (2003). Two Treatises of government and a letter concerning toleration. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  14. McClendon, M. J. (1974). Interracial contact and the reduction of prejudice. Sociological Focus, 7(4), 47–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Miller, E. (2014). Patterns of terrorism in the United States, 1970–2013: Final report to Resilient Systems Division, DHS Science and Technology Directorate. College Park, MD: START.Google Scholar
  16. Peterson, L. E., & Dietz, J. (2005). Enforcement of workforce homogeneity and prejudice as explanations for employment discrimination. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35, 144–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 751–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ridge, R. D., & Montoya, J. A. (2013). Favorable contact during volunteer service: Reducing prejudice toward Mexicans in the American Southwest. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 23, 466–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Riley, K. A. (2013). Walking the leadership tightrope: Building community cohesiveness and social capital in schools in highly disadvantaged urban communities. British Education Research Journal, 39(2), 266–286.Google Scholar
  20. Rousseau, J. J. (1762). The social contract, or principles of the political right. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rousseau/jean_jacques/r864s/.
  21. Saab, R., Harb, C., & Moughalian, C. (2017). Intergroup contact as a predictor of violent and nonviolent collective action: Evidence from Syrian refugees and Lebanese Nationals. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 23(3), 297–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Santos, H. C., Varnum, M. E. W., & Grossman, I. (2017). Global increases in individualism. Psychological Science, 28(9), 1228–1239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sherif, M., Harvey, O. J., White, B. J., Hood, W. R., & Sherif, C. W. (1961). Intergroup conflict and cooperation: The Robber’s Cave Experiment. Norman: University of Oklahoma Book Exchange.Google Scholar
  24. Sidanious, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Staub, E. (2013). Building a peaceful society: Origins, prevention, and reconciliation after genocide and other group violence. American Psychologist, 68(7), 576–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sternberg, R. (2017). Some lessons from a symposium on cultural psychological science. Psychological Science, 12(5), 911–921.Google Scholar
  27. Tidball, K. G., Krasny, M. E., Svendsen, E., Campbell, L., & Helphand, K. (2010). Stewardship, learning, and memory in disaster resilience. Environmental Education Research, 16(5–6), 591–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism: New directions in social psychology. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  29. Triandis, H. C. (2009). Ecological determinants of cultural variations. In R. S. Wyer, C. Chiu, Y. Hong, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Understanding culture: Theory, research and applications (pp. 189–210). New York, NY: Psychological Press.Google Scholar
  30. Umphress, E. E., Smith-Crowe, K., Brief, A. P., Dietz, J., & Baskerville-Watkins, M. (2007). When birds of a feather flock together and when they do not: Status composition, social dominance orientation, and organizational attractiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(2), 396–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Varnum, M. E. W., Grossmann, I., Kitayama, S., & Nisbett, R. E. (2010). The origin of cultural differences in cognition: Evidence of the social orientation hypothesis. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 9–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • August John Hoffman
    • 1
  • Saul Alamilla
    • 2
  • Belle Liang
    • 3
  1. 1.Metropolitan State UniversityHudsonUSA
  2. 2.Kennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA
  3. 3.Boston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

Personalised recommendations