Essays academic service

An overview of the roles in social institutions

The government, the army and the people were considered to constitute the unified whole of a state in any war. Although decades have passed, we still find ourselves in the process of rediscovering numerous dimensions of military strategy and its relation to culture.

Scholars have always been intrigued by the role of culture in decision-making and making war. However, little attention has been paid to the dynamic nature of strategic culture and, more importantly, the key factors leading to its modifications. Does strategic culture change? If yes, who or what is responsible?

Finally, are there any particular transformation mechanisms we may observe? In order to approach these questions, I will first discuss key academic achievements in strategic culture studies, before examining some strong and weak points of each generation of scholars specializing in this field.

Finally, I will present my own explanation of possible changes in strategic culture. In other words, I will attempt to demonstrate how a social institution may reshape or transform strategic culture through facilitating civil resistance. Not only did Snyder attempt to develop a new approach towards understanding interstate behavior in the sphere of global security and international politics, he an overview of the roles in social institutions gave a fresh impetus to the investigation into the relations between military strategy and culture.

First-generation theorists of the 1980-s were mainly concerned with apparent differences in the Soviet and American nuclear strategies. Thus, two leading representatives of the first-generation school, Colin Gray and David Jones rely on three main factors defining and affecting strategic culture of both super-powers, i.

Quite explicitly the drawbacks were presented and analyzed by A. First, the author persuasively argues that the major problem lies in the definition of the concept. Those factors and elements, proposed by both authors, appear to be too inclusive and hardly falsifiable: As Johnston argues, the first-generation simplifies the complex nature of strategic culture by limiting it to only one possible dimension.

Finally, the school bases its argument on the time invariance of strategic culture, thus, apparently neglecting the dynamic nature of strategic culture, its potential for development and adjustment to changing reality.

Yet, the approach supported by the second generation of scholars appears to be far from fail-safe and faces its own problems.

Please Consider Donating

First, the theory seems to ignore the fact that political leaders should be affected by the strategic culture they tend to shape. Second, it is not clear whether we should expect cross-national differences in elite motives and thus behavior. The second-generation approach implies that political elites in all countries share realpolitik interests and preferences and face various external threats in a similar way.

However, it seems hard to deny that strategic possibilities and actions depend on the range of strategic cultures and, thus, differ significantly.

As a result of this ambiguity, the second-generation school has been criticized and followed by a third generation, which offers a highly promising approach towards understanding and interpreting strategic culture.

Scholars such as David Campbell, [23] Rebecca Bjork, [24] Jeffrey Legro [25] and others, preferred to interpret strategic culture as an intervening variable. The third generation school questions the plausibility of realpolitik arguments and tries to explain strategic behavior through military or political-military culture and organizational culture. Finally, the third generation is quite remarkable for interpreting strategic culture as a dynamic phenomenon capable of changing over time.

In this respect, core decision-makers enjoy various possibilities for balancing widely-accepted values and norms with the unknown, recently introduced ones. However, there is still a significant gap in understanding what causes major changes. How do they manage to transform strategic culture all of a sudden?

Unfortunately, numerous scholars seem to ignore the core mechanisms of changes. Thus, I will discuss the key role social institutions play in shaping and framing strategic culture through facilitating social resistance movements. Social an overview of the roles in social institutions undertake three steps in order to modify strategic culture.

  • Thus, I will discuss the key role social institutions play in shaping and framing strategic culture through facilitating social resistance movements;
  • Those factors and elements, proposed by both authors, appear to be too inclusive and hardly falsifiable;
  • However, contemporary sociology appears to be more consistent in its use of the term;
  • In other words, these structures institutionalize collective action;
  • A typical definition was suggested by Jonathan Turner:

First, it provides the movement with the so-called mobilizing structure [40] here understood as a resource, which allows contentious acts to be sustained as social movements. The next step implies framing a sense of community and exclusive commitment [41] based on the unifying idea.

This process includes fulfilling three core framing tasks: However, contemporary sociology appears to be more consistent in its use of the term. A typical definition was suggested by Jonathan Turner: This aspect is extremely important since in this paper resistance movements, as a crucial part of civil resistance, are mainly understood as reasonable and coherent actions rather than the products of public rage.

In this respect, the act of resistance poses challenges to the ruling regime, established values and norms, thus is capable of compromising their legitimacy and stability.

Social resistance is capable of undermining the fundamentals of strategic an overview of the roles in social institutions that very often underpin the power of ruling elites. McCarthy and Zald argue that social movements appear and develop successfully if individuals with grievances are capable of mobilizing sufficient resources to perform action. In other words, these structures institutionalize collective action. However, the power of unifying ideas that social institutions bring, first, to facilitate resistance movements and, second, to reshape strategic culture, seems hard to deny.

According to Pamela Oliver and Hank Johnston, [52] coherent systems of ideas rooted in politics, social justice or religion provide people with unique opportunities to develop their collective value commitments and normative implications, thus help to promote or resist social change.

Moreover, unifying or mobilizing ideas can function as social frames or simply embrace them. In this respect, Liberation Theology may present a fair example. In 1980-1981 this theory played a decisive role in facilitating a non-violent resistance movement, which aimed to overthrow an oppressive regime in Brazil.

Moreover, Liberation Theology significantly affected the strategic culture of present-day Brazil as a rapidly developing state. Thus, it seems plausible that the social institution mobilizes and facilitates resistance, thus reframes strategic culture via providing the key values and fundamental principles on which the whole ideological structure of the movement is usually based.

However, even the strongest resistance based on the most influential unifying idea alone would hardly manage to change the public perception of reality and reshape strategic culture as a whole, unless it manages to develop or reinforce collective identity.

The comprehensive nature of collective identity affects mobilization, trajectory, and even some strategies of social movements. Moreover, Owen Whooley [56] claims that it is collective identity that tends to serve as a key motivator for the formation and development of broad social communities, which are considered to be the key units of any social resistance movement.

To sum up, this paper has demonstrated how an influential social institution may reshape strategic culture as it frames a civil resistance movement, provides it with mobilizing structure and brings in the sense of exclusive commitment leading to the formation of community identity. By fostering social movements and spreading new ideas among the public, the social institution can modify strategic culture, provide new understanding of norms and values and, quite possibly, shape a new strategic culture based on the previous one.

As Cruz once argued: Snyder, The Soviet Strategic Culture: Implications for Nuclear Options, Longhurst, 1977, p.