National Humiliation and International Conflict: Origins, Microfoundations, and Effects
My dissertation examines how humiliation becomes politically relevant and spreads socially. It further examines humiliation’s influence on international conflict. It investigates these topics in three parts.
The first theorizes that humiliation gains political relevance and spreads through narratives of national humiliation. Political groups use these narratives when they can avoid responsibility for the event they are framing as humiliating and can tie their political opponents to this event. This portion analyses the narratives political groups propagated in China and India over the course of the 20th century using both Chinese and English language sources.
The second part examines the microfoundations of humiliation's influence on conflict preferences. I draw from experimental psychology and neuroscience to construct and experimentally test the theory that humiliation increases individual preferences for conflict by decreasing sensitivity to the cost of conflict. I conduct a survey experiment that manipulates individual emotions with autobiographical essay tasks in order to isolate the carry over effect of the emotion of humiliation on foreign policy questions. I further examine the cost mechanism in a laboratory experiment where participants face real monetary costs to choosing to initiate conflict.
The third part uses the theory from the microfoundations section to derive empirical implications to test using a large Chinese social media dataset. I examine whether expressions of national humiliation correlate with advocacy of conflictual foreign policy. I also examine whether references to national humiliation in Chinese state media correspond with higher military spending.
Peer Reviewed Book Chapter
- National Humiliation Narratives: Origins and Political Success. Presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, 2018. Download.
- Humiliation and International Conflict. Presented at the Peace Science Society International North American Meeting, 2018. URL: Download.
- International Conflict and Democratic Breakdown in New Democracies. (in review), 2018. Download.