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Rethinking Democracy and International Peace: Perspectives from Political Psychology

Margaret G. Hermann and Charles W. Kegley, Jr.
International Studies Quarterly
Vol. 39, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 511-533
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The International Studies Association
DOI: 10.2307/2600804
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2600804
Page Count: 23
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Rethinking Democracy and International Peace: Perspectives from Political Psychology
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Abstract

The intent of this article is to expand our understanding of the "zone of peace" that appears to surround democracies by proposing several explanations derived from psychological theories. These explanations, in contrast to those considered conventionally, explicitly incorporate leaders, leaders' perceptions, and their leadership styles. The first builds on social identity theory and focuses on leaders' images and beliefs about the enemy. The second examines leaders' responsiveness to normative and institutional constraints and the effect this sensitivity exerts on their leadership style, suggesting how the latter can shape governments' security strategies. The explanations embed research on the democratic peace into the theoretical context of decision making and encompass autocratic as well as democratic political systems in the process.

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