coercion
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Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of
threat A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. Intimidation is widely observed in animal behavior (particularly in a ritualized form) chiefly in order to avoid the unnecessary physical violence that can lead to ph ...

threat
s, including force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the
free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choice, choose between different possible courses of Action (philosophy), action unimpeded. Free will is closely linked to the concepts of moral responsibility, praise, Culpability, guilt, sin, and other jud ...

free will
of an individual to induce a desired response, for example: a bully demanding lunch money from a student or the student gets beaten. These actions may include
extortion Extortion is the practice of obtaining benefit through . In most jurisdictions it is likely to constitute a ; the bulk of this article deals with such cases. is the simplest and most common form of extortion, although making unfounded threat ...
,
blackmail Blackmail is an act of coercion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats, including force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce ...
,
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is ...

torture
, threats to induce favors, or even
sexual assault Sexual assault is an act in which one intentionally sexually touches another person without that person's consent Consent occurs when one person voluntarily agrees to the proposal or desires of another. It is a term of common speech, with spe ...
. In law, coercion is codified as a duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests. Coercion may involve the actual infliction of physical pain/injury or psychological harm in order to enhance the
credibility Credibility comprises the objective Objective may refer to: * Objective (optics), an element in a camera or microscope * ''The Objective'', a 2008 science fiction horror film * Objective pronoun, a personal pronoun that is used as a grammatical ...
of a threat. The threat of further harm may lead to the
cooperation Cooperation (written as co-operation in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon E ...
or obedience of the person being coerced.


Overview

The purpose of coercion is to substitute one's aims to those of the victim. For this reason, many social philosophers have considered coercion as the polar opposite to
freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fu ...
. Various forms of coercion are distinguished: first on the basis of the ''kind of injury'' threatened, second according to its ''aims'' and ''scope'', and finally according to its ''effects'', from which its legal, social, and ethical implications mostly depend.


Physical

Physical coercion is the most commonly considered form of coercion, where the content of the conditional threat is the
use of force The use of force, in the context of law enforcement, may be defined as the "amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject". Use of force doctrines can be employed by law enforcement officers and military person ...
against a victim, their relatives or property. An often used example is "putting a gun to someone's head" (''at gunpoint'') or putting a "knife under the throat" (''at knifepoint'' or cut-throat) to compel action under the threat that non-compliance may result in the attacker harming or even killing the victim. These are so common that they are also used as
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
s for other forms of coercion. Armed forces in many countries use
firing squad Execution by firing squad, in the past sometimes called fusillading (from the French ''fusil'', rifle), is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killin ...
s to maintain
discipline Discipline is action ACTION is a bus operator in Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new n ...

discipline
and intimidate the masses, or opposition, into submission or silent
compliance Compliance can mean: Healthcare * Compliance (medicine) In medicine, patient compliance (also adherence, capacitance) describes the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice. Most commonly, it refers to medication or drug compli ...
. However, there also are nonphysical forms of coercion, where the threatened injury does not immediately imply the use of force. Byman and Waxman (2000) define coercion as "the use of threatened force, including the limited use of actual force to back up the threat, to induce an adversary to behave differently than it otherwise would."Byman, Daniel L.; Waxman, Matthew C.: ''Kosovo and the Great Air Power Debate'', ''
International Security International security, also called global security, is a term which refers to the measures taken by states and international organization ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field ...
'', Vol. 24, No. 4 (Spring, 2000), pp. 5–38.
Coercion does not in many cases amount to
destruction of property Property damage ( cf. criminal damage in England and Wales) is damage or destruction of real Real may refer to: * Reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object ...
or life since compliance is the goal.


Psychological

In
psychological coercion Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and re-education) is the concept that the human mind Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of prim ...
, the threatened injury regards the victim's relationships with other people. The most obvious example is ''
blackmail Blackmail is an act of coercion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats, including force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce ...
'', where the threat consists of the dissemination of damaging information. However, many other types are possible e.g. "
emotional blackmailEmotional blackmail and FOG are terms, popularized by psychotherapist Susan Forward, about controlling people in relationships and the theory that fear Fear is an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological changes a ...
", which typically involves threats of rejection from or disapproval by a peer-group, or creating feelings of guilt/obligation via a display of anger or hurt by someone whom the victim loves or respects. Another example is
coercive persuasion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats, including propaganda or force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response ...
. Psychological coercion – along with the other varieties – was extensively and systematically used by the government of the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
during the " Thought Reform" campaign of 1951–1952. The process – carried out partly at "revolutionary universities" and partly within prisons – was investigated and reported upon by
Robert Jay Lifton Robert Jay Lifton (born May 16, 1926) is an American psychiatrist A psychiatrist is a physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simpl ...
, then Research Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University: see Lifton (1961). The techniques used by the Chinese authorities included a technique derived from standard
group psychotherapy Group psychotherapy or group therapy is a form of psychotherapy Psychotherapy (also psychological therapy or talking therapy) is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a ...
, which was aimed at forcing the victims (who were generally intellectuals) to produce detailed and sincere ideological "confessions". For instance, Chin Yueh-lin was induced to write: "The new philosophy f_Marxism-Leninism.html" ;"title="Marxism-Leninism.html" ;"title="f Marxism-Leninism">f Marxism-Leninism">Marxism-Leninism.html" ;"title="f Marxism-Leninism">f Marxism-Leninism being scientific, is the supreme truth" [Lifton (1961) p. 545].


See also


Notes


References

* * Lifton, Robert J. (1961) ''Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism'', Penguin Books.


External links

* *. * Carter, Barry E
Economic Coercion
''Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law'' (subscription required) {{Authority control Abuse Authority Bullying
Legal terminology {{CatAutoTOC Terms Jargon Terminology Terms Terminology Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use. This is also known as termino ...
Psychological abuse Interrogation techniques Power (social and political) concepts