Individualism and aggression: A hermeneutic analysis of Huesmann and Eron's cognitive theory of aggression

  • Fowers B
  • Richardson F
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A number of writers have expressed concern that much psychological theory and research may be critically shaped by a `disguised ideology'. This thesis will be explored by examining the tacit ideological underpinnings of the cognitive theory of aggression proposed by Huesmann, Eron and their colleagues. This work appears to be infused with unacknowledged liberal individualist or philosophical liberal assumptions which portray humans as more or less autonomous, strategic agents seeking to achieve pre-given ends. Once these evaluative underpinnings are exposed, certain implausibilities and anomalies in this view of aggression emerge that seem to reflect tensions inherent in the liberal individualist interpretation of human action. Restricting the study of violence to rather narrow instrumental categories of human action severely constrains the extent to which unwanted forms of aggression can be understood and reduced. Thus, this approach to aggression may inadvertently reinforce aspects of modern culture that are themselves significant sources of unwanted aggression.

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  • Blaine J. Fowers

  • Frank C. Richardson

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