Panel Series: Communication and Education for Peace

The modern globalised world offers extraordinary examples of cooperation between countries, and as they are progressively enhanced by technologies, major international initiatives help us advance common goals in the pursuit of a sustainable future, in the understanding that global issues such as climate change, energy security, pandemics, and mass migration, by definition are not and cannot be dealt with by one country alone.

However there is also much to be concerned about, as populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism are not only prevalent in autocratic regimes, but at the heart of democracies. Resulting governments emphasise competition and grievance with their neighbours, international institutions, and their authority is undermined, and diplomacy takes a back seat to force. Competing narratives are increasingly without nuance, and people/arguments from the other side/team/country are caricatured, misrepresented, and even dehumanised.

In this panel, we will specifically discuss current global crises and human security through the lens of psychology and institutions. The main question around how to overcome global crises will attempt to uncover a deeper psychological crisis that permeates societies, and ask whether institutions have failed us, considering the workings of psychological manipulation in our everyday life. This panel is part of a series of plenary panels that draws on members of the IAFOR network from different national, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds, who will address the importance of cooperative engagement, through individuals and institutions, ultimately posing the question of what can be done to encourage more constructive global dialogue, and how this can be nurtured in ourselves.

Psychology and Human Insecurity

Brendan Howe, Ehwa Woman's University, South Korea

Socio-political psychology and human insecurity are linked through the processes of othering and securitisation. The discriminatory treatment of the "other" outgroup (minorities, refugees, political opponents) undermines their human security, whereby they are seen as not being entitled to similar rights, benefits, or treatment, or may even be seen as in direct competition with the ingroup for perceived limited resources. These socio-political conditions are then further exacerbated by securitisation whereby the nature of the other and their identity is first politicised, and then socially constructed by an unscrupulous political entrepreneur as a threat to the security of the referent subject (nation, way of life, regime, religion, race, generation, etc.). At the international level, these processes undermine international cooperation, perhaps dealing a fatal blow to human security-related multilateral regimes such as climate change, disaster relief, humanitarian intervention, and food security. Such trends have become more apparent with the rise of illiberal populism, and pose a direct threat to rights-based governance. On the other hand, we have seen something of a countering force of pro-rights and solidarist populism within the East Asian region. Education and information would seem to be key to addressing these challenges, but the spread of disinformation is an ever-present threat.

Is Psychology in Crisis?

Dexter Da Silva, Keisen University, Japan

Important issues, referred to as crises, in society today have taken the forefront in political as well as academic debates. Crises such as the climate crisis, the refugee crisis, debt crisis, cost-of-living crisis, or the food security crisis, have sparked protests all over the world and are severely undermining human security. Merz et al (2023) observe the birth of an additional crisis, “The Human Behavioural Crisis'', which drives “ecological overshoot”. A critical part of this crisis is what they call “behavioural manipulation” by the marketing, media, and entertainment industries. Considering that the common definition of the field of psychology is “the study of human behaviour and the mind”, and that common goals of psychology include understanding, explaining, and predicting behaviour, and applying this knowledge to improve individuals' well-being, it seems natural to suggest that perhaps the field of Psychology itself is in a crisis. Merz et al (2023) call for increased interdisciplinary collaboration in order to address ecological overshoot which is integrally linked to the above crises.

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Posted by IAFOR