Monday, September 13, 2010


I could just put up my original research proposal for those interested in my PhD but, in fairness, it is the dullest thing on Earth. Excuse me, then, for giving you the very short version:

There is a constituency in the field of conflict/peace studies that argues that all individuals have innate needs. Many of you will recall Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, I think? This is not the only model of needs but it should give you some familiarity with the concept.

It is argued that individuals will struggle to fulfil those needs and, if no other avenues are available, this struggle may include violence.

I am attempting to examine conflict and violence within prisons through the conceptual lense of Human Needs. Prisons, by definition and as a matter of policy, deny fundamental needs. Prisoners, being human(!), will attempt to fulfil those needs.

If avenues of legitimate struggle are not available, then this conflict could lead to violence, both against the institution and between prisoners.

So I'm having a shufti to see if this reasoning is correct and if there are avenues of struggle which are not violent and yet effective in fulfilling human needs.

And that, guys, is the very short version of my research!

1 comment:

  1. It seems odd regarding psychology, that all the interesting and potent research, seems to have come to an abrupt end, about the turn of the seventies.

    Skinners boxes, Milgram, Zimbardo; they seem to have been superseded by left-wing moralists, that condemn further efforts as "unethical". The result being that psychology has become a stream of trivial political window dressings.

    It's as though the powers that be, have withheld the 'real' research for being too dangerous; knowledge that must not enter the public domain. For it wouldn't do for a 'democracy' to get wind of how it was being manipulated.