What can a psychologist contribute? In a paper prepared for the 2006 conference, I argued that sociological analysis can be supplemented by psychological analysis [GARDINER 2006]. After all, institutions are composed of individuals. The issue, entitled "The Threat of Insecurity" in the 2006 conference and "Human Security" in the upcoming 2008 conference, lends itself well to this supplementary analysis. After all, it is individuals not institutions who experience threat, insecurity, fear.|
In that paper, I argued that people fall along a dimension from contentment to excitement, with the downside of contentment being boredom and of excitement being fear. Experiments on "depaysement" and neophobia suggest that most of us would rather face the boredom than the fear. The current "climate of fear" [GLASSNER] pushes us further towards that end of the scale. We need also consider the role of hope. Norman Cousins [COUSINS] and Lionel Tiger [TIGER] argue that the impact of hope on our biology is potentially as powerful as the impact of fear. A recent book, entitled "The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need" argues for a "climate of hope" [TURNER]. This is one of the very many books inspired by Small is Beautiful [SCHUMACHER] Note that Schumacher's sub-title is Economics as if People Mattered - suggesting that a focus on the psychological level of analysis provides an influential book which is worth publishing 25 years later.
In this paper, I will offer a contribution of a psychologist (THREE CONCEPTS OF THE PERSON) and then the contribution of a psychologist who has moved into the discipline of media studies (FOUR GENERATIONS OF MEDIA).
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