Annotation of the joint monograph «The psychology of power: the perception of power and political leaders» (by a group of authors)
The scientific editor of the publication is E.Shestopal, DPh, Head of the Chair of Political Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy at Moscow State University after M.V.Lomonosov, President of the Russian Association of political psychologists
The monograph targets one of the most acute problems in modern political psychology: the psychology of power. A number of isolated publications in the form of articles devoted to this topic have been released in the past few years. The compilation of the manuscript under discussion has been stimulated by the conference that took place at the Chair of Political Psychology at Moscow State University (MSU) after M.V.Lomonosov in February 2002. It presents the views of political psychologists from different universities, both Russian and foreign.
Given substantial differences in the approaches to the analysis of power, all the authors display equal interest in the new mechanisms of power structures operation in the environment of information society. Besides using the traditional tools of exercising compulsion and setting up rules of play common for all the political forces, nowadays authorities exercise influence on the political actors, and especially on the citizens, through the established medium of a virtual political reality. In addition to the tools and instruments which have always been used in politics, the patterns of power and images of the political leaders, disseminated via the mass media sources, are becoming an effective tool of power in the present-day world. The given publication focuses on the analysis of the contents of these images and patterns, their psychological structure and channels of influence on the citizens.
The authors of the monograph set up three main blocs of problems. First of all, there still remain a number of theoretical and methodological challenges in studying the perception of power and political leaders in political psychology, which serves as a framework for all the research papers presented in the monograph. This problem is dealt with in the sections written by Prof. E.Shestopal of MSU and Prof. G.Mayer of Thubingen University. Besides touching upon problems of general theoretical interest, this section throws light on such theoretical issues as the psychological aspects of interaction between the elite and society in the period of implementing political reforms (N.Rakityansky), the peculiarities of communications and barriers to the perception of politicians' images (T.Pischeva), political stereotypes and their influence on the electoral preferences of the Russian population in the 1990-s (S.Medvedeva). The unconscious aspects of political communications are discussed in the section written by N.Shelekasova, who has summarised the experience of conducting a number of regional electoral campaigns.
The second bloc of problems is connected with the perception of power as such in present-day Russia. For instance, the research paper by S.Nesterova touches upon the problem of the presentation of power and its perception by the citizens. The author studied the patterns of power by projective and experimental methods. Of particular interest in this section is not only the description of the analysis itself, but also the illustrative material provided by the author the description of power patterns obtained in the course of the experiment.
The political parties' self-presentation is the object of research by O.Malinova. Using the materials that went into the party programmes of «Edinstvo» («Unity») and «Otechestvo» («Motherland») the author lays bare the psychological tools of positioning the political parties both in relation to their proponents («We») and opponents («They»).
The chapter written by L.Presnyakova is devoted to the discussion of the personality factor, which impacts the perception of power. The author provides psychological analysis of those factors, which predetermine the perception of power by our compatriots.
The third bloc of issues is presented by articles studying the perception of individual politicians.
The opening paper in this section is the article by D.Winter, Professor at Ann Arbor University (USA), who has long been established as one of the classical writers in political psychology. The author tackles the issue of the perception of factual and impending crises by the political leaders on the example of the international situation prior to the First World War of 1914 and the international situation during the Caribbean crisis of 1962.
The specific nature of moulding politicians' images through the Internet is discussed in the section written by E.Lobza. V.Zorin analyses the perception of a politician's image in the framework of studying his personality. A.Grishko elaborates the issues of social categorisation of politics proceeding in public consciousness on the example of modelling the profile of an ideal President. The article by E.Kikteva focuses on the regularities of building a politician's negative image by means of using «black» technologies, which have become so common in Russia's current politics. E.Ushakova provides analysis of a politician's speech as a factor of influence on his image perception on the example of one of the most conspicuous political leaders in present-day Russia (V.Zhirinovsky).
The publication under discussion can be of interest for everyone who is interested in modern Russian politics in its psychological dimension. The proposed edition is of 5,000 copies.
Table of contents
I. Theoretical ground for the research of the psychology of power
1.1 Theoretical and methodological problems of conducting research of the power patterns and some results of the research projects completed in 1993-2002.
1.2 Power, lack of power and social dynamics psychological aspects of micro-politics.
1.3 Psychological aspects of the interaction between the elite and society in the process of implementing political reforms.
1.4 Political stereotypes and their impact on the electoral preferences of the Russian population in the 1990-s.
1.5 The problems of conducting research of the unconscious impacts of political communications (experience of conducting regional electoral campaigns).
II. Power perception
2.1 Political programmes as means of self-presentation of the political parties (on the example of «Edinstvo» («Unity») and «Otechestvo» («Motherland»)).
2.2 Economic status as a factor of power perception by the citizens and the strategy of their interaction with the agents of power.
2.3 The relationship between agents of power and the population. The problem of power presentation and its perception by the citizens.
2.4 The impact of individual peculiarities on the perception of power in Russia (the 1990-s).
III. The images of the political leaders and their perception
3.1 The awareness of factual and impending crises on part of the political leaders. The comparative analysis of the crises of 1914 and 1962.
3.2 The problem of the perception of a politician's image in the framework of studying his personality.
3.3 Some issues of politics social categorisation in present-day Russia. To the problem of modelling the profile of an ideal President.
3.4 The peculiarities of building a political leader's negative image.
3.5 Politicians' images: the peculiarities of communications and barriers to the perception.
3.6 The peculiarities of moulding politicians' images in the Internet (on the example of electronic press-conferences).
3.7 A politician's speech as a factor of influence on his image perception (on the example of V.Zhirinovsky).