Stories, Stakeholder Expansion, and Surrogate Consciousness: Using Innovations in Social Movement Theory to Understand and Influence Hizballah's Developmental Trajectory   [open pdf - 131KB]

"In this paper, [the authors] argue for a series of linked hypotheses. First, [they] distinguish the concept of surrogate consciousness from related psychological processes involved in framing. Surrogate consciousness arises from the conjunction of empathetic responses with a thin sense of shared identity (especially identities that arise from a recognition of common fate) even in the face of obvious and self-acknowledged out-group distinctions. Development of surrogate consciousness is enhanced by consideration of the narrative elements of the framing process. Second, by analyzing official documents of Hizballah and the rhetoric of Hizballah leaders such as Sheikh Hussein Nasrallah and Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah"focusing in particular on how this verbiage has changed over time"[they] provide evidence that the Party of God has broadened its goals; this in turn has led to narrative efforts designed to boost surrogate consciousness in the Shia of Lebanon for the plight of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Third, and in the largest single section of [their] paper, [they] discuss potential trajectories Hizballah could follow as its development unfolds. Finally, [they] discuss actions the United States could take to make one trajectory rather than another more likely. [They] conclude by merging the two themes of our paper: while the United States can influence Hizballahs trajectory, Hizballahs cultivation of surrogate consciousness is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it increases the chances Hizballah will continue to develop a bona fide constituency and moderate its goals. On the other hand, if Palestinians are unable to reach accommodation with Israel through non-violent means (such as the peace process), the surrogate consciousness could retrench Hizballahs militant elements, which would not be a favorable development. Developmental trajectories and surrogate consciousness are thus intimately linked."

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Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
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Strategic Insights (May 2005), v.4 no.5
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