DAVID HAMBURG and his colleagues1 are to be praised for bringing squarely before behavioral scientists the crucial issue of how a research agenda can be developed out of the behavioral and social sciences for the prevention of deadly conflicts. The Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, begun when David Hamburg was president and led the Carnegie Corporation, has produced a report2 that makes the case for applying political and psychological knowledge to one of the most ominous issues of our time. This is a courageous document because it flies in the face of a decade-long transformation in European and American psychiatry that has, in my view, too narrowly restricted the problem and solution frame of psychiatric research to a disconcertingly strict agenda focused on disease pathogenesis and psychopharmacology. Hamburg et al argue for a rather different perspective, one in which psychiatry and behavioral science research engage a major human problem of our era with simply enormous public and mental health consequences. The example they use—political leadership—requires studying up the higher levels of national and international leadership cohorts in the attempt to unpack the black box of political will, that ubiquitous but unspecified explanation of the failure to prevent so many civil conflicts. In support of the agenda for research they seek to foster, I will draw on my own background in medical anthropology to look at other levels of social conflict, from the local world—the village, the urban neighborhood, the network of relationships—to international agencies to suggest additional questions for research.
Thank you for submitting a comment on this article. It will be reviewed by JAMA Psychiatry editors. You will be notified when your comment has been published. Comments should not exceed 500 words of text and 10 references.
Do not submit personal medical questions or information that could identify a specific patient, questions about a particular case, or general inquiries to an author. Only content that has not been published, posted, or submitted elsewhere should be submitted. By submitting this Comment, you and any coauthors transfer copyright to the journal if your Comment is posted.
* = Required Field
Disclosure of Any Conflicts of Interest*
Indicate all relevant conflicts of interest of each author below, including all relevant financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including, but not limited to, employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speakers’ bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued. If all authors have none, check "No potential conflicts or relevant financial interests" in the box below. Please also indicate any funding received in support of this work. The information will be posted with your response.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.