Wednesday 3 June 2020

Techniques of Neutralisation

This post is a slight left turn from my usual topics, but I think it is something that is still applicable to chess.
In the field of sociology there is a topic called Neutralisation Theory. It is an attempt to classify how people justify deviating from accepted behaviour. According to Sykes and Matza there are 5 type of neutralisation. They are:

  • Denial of Responsibility (I had no choice in the matter)
  • Denial of Harm (No one was really hurt)
  • Denial of Victim (The other guy deserved what happened)
  • Condemnation of the Condemners (Those judging me are the real criminals)
  • Appeal to higher loyalties (I am serving a higher purpose in breaking the rules)
Why is this important? Because in a number of discussions concerning fairplay in chess, I have seen various forms of these arguments being put forward. Some are just hypothetical (eg People use engines on serves to test the detection system), but others are rooted in reality (eg I have to use an engine because everyone else is).

(NB I am not a sociologist, or even studied the subject. The chess players you might want to talk to if you are interested in this topic are Dr Stephen Mugford, or Dr Mary Wilkie)

No comments: