Comparing the perceived causes of the second Iraq war: a network analysis approach.

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    • Abstract:
      The objective of this research was to examine the representation by British students of 11 perceived causes of the invasion of Iraq. We used network analysis to develop a network of the pattern of causes that are involved. Overall most participants identified a nexus of causes that reciprocally linked religious prejudice, racism and the history of conflict in the Middle East. They identified a reciprocal link between religious prejudice and September 11th, indicating that it was a cause and effect of religious prejudice. They also supported a link between the personalities of Bush and Saddam and economic gain, and acknowledged the effect of the first Gulf war on Saddam. We also found that Muslim participants were significantly less in favour of the invasion than Christian participants, and produced different networks of the links between causes. The study demonstrates that network analysis can be used to compare and contrast representations of a political event, and thus extends its use in the study of social representations. Aggr. Behav. 32:321–329, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]