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People’s Support of Force and Political Views Essay


Introduction

The report at hand is aimed at providing a detailed analysis of the results gained in the course of the study. The analysis will be represented in four sections in order to ensure a profound examination of each factor. The key aim of this report resides in discussing the main interconnections and patterns determined with the help of this research.

The report also provides allusions to the initially set hypotheses in order to show which assumptions are currently tested.

Survey Description

The study under discussion was based on the wide-spread idea that the support of the use of force is determined by political views of the respondents (Everts & Isernia 2001). This assumption is shared by numerous experts and is commonly supported in the scientific community (Jentleson 1992). Hence, the research hypothesis resided in the statement that political views shape one’s vision of various related fields, including the support of the use of force (Baum 2014). It was presumed that political views, in their term, are highly influenced by nationality, age, religious belief, sex, mass media, etc. Thus, the research was designed to measure a large scope of variables.

The main research tool employed in the study was a survey. This method was preferred to others as the one that allows measuring variables in a large scope of respondents in a relatively short time period contrary, for instance, to an interview (Fowler 2013). There were five principle variables integrated into the structure of the survey: public attitude to welfare, social opinion on the foreign aid, the public view of the national policy and specific strategies from the prospects of foreign aid, and the political convictions of the respondents (Dodds & Elden 2008).

The choice of the variables was performed basing on the causal diagram (see App.1), according to which, the selected variables play the key role in shaping one’s perception of the use of force.

It is essential to point out that the survey questions were designed with due regard to their position in the poll and the relevance of their structure – some of the questions represent a multi-score scale, the others are closed and opened questions (Groves 2006). A particular focus was put on the respondents’ motivation – the questions were posed in such a manner that the interviewed did not get bored or discouraged till the end of the survey (Krosnick 1991).

The sample group comprised 178 people. It was considered critical to ensure the age variety in order to analyze the correlations typical of a particular generation (Rowe & Frewer 2000). It is also essential to point out the fact that the survey was carried out in accordance with the basic ethical principles of research conducting. Hence, all the participants were initially asked about their agreement to take part in the study and were ensured that the information they provided in the course of the research would be used for scientific purposes only (Wiles 2012).

Results Analysis

Analysis 1: Age Factor – Cross Tabulation

First and foremost, it is important to analyze how the non-political factors influence people’s perception of the use of force. One of such independent variables is age. Before trying to determine the attitude of different age groups towards the use of force, it is considered rational to indicate their attitude towards possessing weapons. Thus, practice shows that the nuclear weapon bears some negative connotations.

Therefore, even if a respondent does not directly support the use of force, his or her positive attitude towards the nuclear weapon shows that the person concedes the possibility of its implementation (Bjola 2009). Otherwise stated, the positive answer to the “nuclear weapon” question will signify the person’s inclination to support the use force.

Hence, the findings show that the number of opponents and proponents is almost equal. The cross tabulation represented below (see Figure 1) shows the correlation between the “age” and the “nuclear weapon” variables.

Cross Tabulation Showing Age-The Nuclear Weapon Relations.
Figure 1 “Cross Tabulation Showing Age-The Nuclear Weapon Relations”.

The table above shows how respondents, classified in accordance with six age groups, were split among the “force attitude”. To put it more precisely, the table shows the correlation between age and the support of the nuclear weapon. On the face of it, it might be argued that a country possessing the nuclear weapon is not an equivalent for a country using force. However, in the framework of this paper, the “force” concept will be addressed complexly. Otherwise stated, associated aspects such as nuclear weapon will be essentially referred to the “force” problem. There will be a chance to test the rationality of this approach through further analysis of other cross tabulation results.

Therefore, the number of those who are for or against nuclear weapons is almost the same for every age group. However, elderly respondents (70 and above) compose an exception. The proportion discrepancy is highly considerable in their category: 1 person out of ten supports nuclear weapons. Such a phenomenon might be explained by the fact that older generations possess some historical memories of the period of the Cold War when the danger of a nuclear war was more than real. Some experts believe that those people who remember the Cold War events as well as the Hiroshima tragic experience a powerful fear of nuclear weapons (Ropeik 2012).

The research findings have shown that younger people tend to be less tolerant to military forces and weapons than older generations. The cross tabulation represented below shows the correlation between the “age” and the “support of the use of force inside the country” variables. (see Figure 2).

Age Factor and the Use of Force.
Figure 2 “Age Factor and the Use of Force”.

Thus, for instance, the number of young people (17-30) supporting the use of force against the country’s residents is almost twice smaller than the number of those who are against. In the meantime, middle-aged people (30-49) and elderly respondents (70 and above) show an approximately equal number of supporters and opponents.

On the face of it, the statistics might seem to be puzzling as young people are commonly known to be more radical and thoroughgoing (Arnett 2013). Nevertheless, the current tendency proves the contrary. It is not only this research that indicates unexpected peacefulness in young people, recent statistical data likewise points out the same phenomenon – younger generations are generally tuned against military interventions (Ekins 2014).

Meanwhile, it would not be completely fair to compare these findings – the research under discussion shows the attitude towards the use of force inside a country, whereas the presented statistics refers to military interventions. From this perspective, it can be assumed that some part of those young people who do not support the use of military forces against the residents of their country, would not mind using these forces against another state. Such a discrepancy between social attitude towards force within their own state and that applied abroad will be further pointed out as an important psychological element of the analysis. Experts explain that people tend to be rather indifferent to the use of military force as long as the latter is employed somewhere beyond their own street, city, country (Janowitz 1984).

Lastly, it should be noted that the number of those who are against nuclear weapons and those who do not tolerate with the government using military forces against the residents is almost the same. As a result, it might be concluded that people’s perception of military forces and weapons is inseparable. Thus, this variable should be necessarily included in case further research is carried out or this study is extended.

Let us suppose that the general social attitude towards the use of military forces is rather negative than positive as it is shown in the tables above. However, it is critical to realize that the discussed questions are rather general. Practice shows that people often provide random answers in two cases: they do not possess enough relevant knowledge, or the offered question is too general. It is essential to analyze some more specific variables in order to receive a detailed idea of the social opinion. Thus, the tables below illustrate the social perception of the Syrian events (see Figure 3).

Age Factor and Syrian Events.
Figure 3 “Age Factor and Syrian Events”.

At this point, the situation with the “pros” and “cons” correlation differs significantly from the one overviewed before. Thus, young people that claimed to be against the government that uses military forces against its residents turn out to be for the military interventions. The only age group that shows some disagreement with the use of force is elderly people (70 and above).

Therefore, the analysis of these examples shows that it is critical to distinguish people’s general political views and their vision of a particular political event. Thus, for instance, a vast majority of respondents claimed to be against of the use of military forces against residents in general, while the number of those who is against the use of force in Syria is significantly smaller – about 35-40%.

At this point, it is critical to focus on the important insight that will be further supported by the supplementary statistics. This insight resides in the fact that people’s support of the use of force depends mainly on where this force is supposed to be applied. Otherwise stated, people are more tolerant with the force when it does not have an impact on their own lives but is just an element of the international policy.

Analysis 2: Mass Media Factor – Statistics Describing

Another interesting piece of analysis is devoted to the examination of the mass media’s impact in terms of shaping social political views. Referring to the table represented above (see Figure 3), it can be concluded that social distrust in mass media is not crucial – the percentage of those who rely on mass media sources and those who shape their political views independently is almost equal. At this stage, it is important to make a remark. The perception of mass media is different in many people as there is currently no concise interpretation of this concept. Thus, some experts would insist on referring social networks and posts to mass media. However, what the question initially implied was the classic mass media sources such as newspapers, television, etc.

In the meantime, it is critical to note that whatever paradoxical it might seem, young people tend to be more tolerant with mass media than older generations.

Despite the commonly spread assumption that young people are more critical and less credulous than their parents and grandparents, the statistical data evidences the opposite. Thus, the research has shown that young people do not express significant mistrust towards the modern sources of mass media. There might be several explanations for this phenomenon. First and foremost, young people today have almost unlimited access to a larger scope of the media sources than their parents and grandparents could have had.

Some of the new sources such as various independent internet channels and blogs seem to be more objective than governmental sources. Otherwise stated, the abundance of media lets young people examine different points of view and shape their own political vision. Elderly people, in their turn, do not have relevant skills to search the Internet or sign for some experts’ blogs – as a rule, they confine themselves to watching and reading the “official” media sources.

Meanwhile, another opinion suggests another vision of the youngsters’ tolerance with the mass media. Thus, some experts believe that this age segment is naturally more susceptible to external influence (Andersen, Taylor & Logio 2014). Due to the lack of a consistent knowledge in politics, young people have to adopt the mass media’s vision as they are unable to evaluate it critically. Middle-aged and elderly respondents, on the contrary, have enough of the relevant experience to notice the discrepancies and the misleading facts in the information that the media sources offer.

From this standpoint, it is also interesting to analyze the mass media’s influence in the framework of the gender variables. The table represented below shows that the difference between males’ and females’ attitude towards the support of the use of force is not as critical as it was initially expected (see Figure 4).

Mass Media Factor.
Figure 4 “Mass Media Factor”.

Hence, it was initially assumed that men are more inclined to support the use of force due to some natural psychological characteristics (Leander 2005). However, the retrieved statistics bespeaks the opposite – the quantitative difference between men and women supporting the use of force is insignificant, whereas the number of men that disagree with such politics prevails.

Returning back to the mass media factor, it is essential to note that from the gender perspective, mass media is represented as a reliable source of vision shaping. Hence, the major part of both men and women tend to rely on this source. In the meantime, it should be pointed out that men are slightly more critical towards mass media than women.

Analysis 3: Human Rights and International Law

Human rights and international law are the critical concepts in the political context. Hence, it is important to analyze the main correlations and patterns that can be identified in this framework. The table below illustrates the social perception of human rights applied to the use of force (see Figure 5).

Human Rights.
Figure 5 “Human Rights”.

On the face of it, the major part of the respondents shows disapproval of the use of force and supports the concept of human rights. Nevertheless, a closer analysis of this data allows understanding that the offered item “sometimes” has no particular implications. Otherwise stated, those who chose this item whether in the “agree” or “disagree” column avoided giving an answer (Norrander 2001). Looking at the figures, it becomes evident that the number of such people prevails. In case this percentage is excluded, the indexes in the two columns will be almost equal.

In the meantime, it might be assumed that the question related to the human rights might have been slightly misleading so that a particular part of respondents could have provided corrupted data due to the lack of complete understanding (Neack 2002).

Therefore, it would be rational to analyze another question devoted to the associated field, the international law. The table below illustrates the responses provided for the question about international politics (see Figure 6).

International Law.
Figure 6 “International Law”.

At this point, it is critical to point out that such concepts as human rights and international law might sound too general for a respondent; as a result, the latter is likely to either avoid answering or provide a random response (Eichenberg 2005). Therefore, the question was posed in such a manner that it asks to speculate upon a very specific situation, which, in fact, is closely interconnected with the international law.

Supposing that those people who choose the “negotiation” option are against the use of force, this table shows that the number of people against the use of force dominates over those who support it. From this perspective, it should be necessarily pointed out that this question illustrates the interconnection between political knowledge and the support of the use of force. Thus, this interconnection can be presented as follows:

Political Knowledge and the Support of the Use of Force.
Figure 7 “Political Knowledge and the Support of the Use of Force”.

Thence, these findings help to test the initially set hypothesis that presumed that there is a strong interconnection between people’s political views and their attitude towards the use of force. The data presented above throws some light on this problem showing that the use of force is closely connected with the international law. As a result, those people that possess some political knowledge and are able to think critically will necessarily choose the alternative variant – negotiations.

Analysis 4: Gender Factor

On the face of it, the gender factor is not the one to be analyzed while discussing the interconnection between political views and people’s attitude towards the support of the use of force (Atkeson 1999). However, it was initially presumed that this factor can play an important role in shaping one’s political views.

First and foremost, it is expected that women are less supportive in terms of military force than men. The table below shows the genders’ attitude towards the use of force in the Syrian case (see Figure 8).

Gender Factor.
Figure 8 “Gender Factor”.

Thus, statistics shows that there is some percentage difference in the genders, even though it is insignificant: 57% of women do not mind their government using force, and they are supported by 66% of men. Whereas the difference in their opinions is not critical, it is worth pointing out that the major part of respondents supports the use of force in Syria. Referring back to the previously discussed figures, it can be concluded that people tend to support the use of force outside their own state while the use of force in other countries that can be characterized as a military intervention is commonly tolerated (see Figure 9).

The Use of Force inside the Country.
Figure 9 “The Use of Force inside the Country”.

In addition, the table above shows that the discrepancy in gender perception of the use of force inside the country is even more insignificant than that referring to military interventions. Otherwise stated, both men and women seem to be against their government using military forces to resolve social conflicts.

As it has been already stated about, one of the key determinants of the use of force is the attitude towards the human rights. The table below represents the attitude towards this aspect in the genders (see Fig 10).

Gender Factor – Human Rights.
Figure 10 “Gender Factor – Human Rights”.

These findings show that women that were initially expected to be more peaceful and express their views against the use of force have evidently failed to justify this assumption in the previous examples. However, this case shows that women are generally more optimistic than men. Thus, twice more women trust in the respect of the human rights and three times fewer women believe these rights are violated.

The positive vision of the current political environment on the part of women can be explained by two factors. First and foremost, it might be some natural psychological peculiarities that allow women to see things from the optimistic perspective (Whitaker 2008). Secondly, their positive evaluation might be determined by the lack of the relevant political knowledge (Art & Waltz 2004). Hence, the large percentage of men pointing out the violation of human rights might be explained by the fact that these respondents bear in mind some particular examples of such violation.

Another finding is even more surprising in terms of genders’ differences in political views. Thus, the table below shows the attitude towards different approaches in the framework of international politics (see figure 11).

Gender Factor – Nuclear Weapon.
Figure 11 “Gender Factor – Nuclear Weapon”.

Hence, the statistics represented above contradicts the theory that women are less likely to support the use of force. Presuming that negotiation, in this case, stands for peaceful conflicts’ resolution, men turn out to be more tolerant and dovish than women (Feldman 1988). As a consequence, it might be concluded that the initially advanced hypothesis that women are more inclined to be against of the use of force is not justified.

The frequency table below (see figure 12) shows how the different genders were distributed along the support of the use of force through the related survey questions.

Category Tally Frequency
Men Women Men Women
Support of The use of Force IIII I 4 1

Figure 12 “Gender Frequency Table”.

The frequency table above was calculated by selecting five force-related questions and indicating the dominance of the force’s support either in men or women. Such categories as the support of the use of force in Syria, the use of force inside the country, the advantage of the military forces over diplomacy, etc. were all united in one group – the support of the use of force.

Therefore, the table shows that, in the general terms, men are more inclined to support the use of force. This finding supports the initially advanced hypothesis, though the frequency gap is even more critical than it could have been expected.

Conclusion

The analysis of the findings has shown that the initially set hypothesis that political views of a person shape his or her attitude towards the use of force is empirically justified, whereas the assumption that such undependable variables as age and gender are significant is ungrounded. One of the most critical conclusions drawn in the course of the study resides in the fact that people’s vision of the use of force is mainly determined by the fact where the force is planned to be employed. Thus, the major part of respondents is against of the use of force inside their country and is inclined to support a military intervention.

Reference List

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