Rethinking democracy and international peace: perspectives from political psychology

M. G. Hermann, C. W. Kegley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


The intent of this article is to expand our understanding of the "zone of peace' that appears to surround democracies by proposing several explanations derived from psychological theories. These explanations, in contrast to those considered conventionally, explicitly incorporate leaders, leaders' perceptions, and their leadership styles. The first builds on social identity theory and focuses on leaders' images and beliefs about the enemy. The second examines leaders' responsiveness to normative and institutional constraints and the effect this sensitivity exerts on their leadership style, suggesting how the latter can shape governments' security strategies. The explanations embed research on the democratic peace into the theoretical context of decision making and encompass autocratic as well as democratic political systems in the process. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-533
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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