The Dynamics of Social and Societal Relationships: Competition and Cooperation



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The course consists of 4 subtopics and they are offered interchangeably:

  1. Competition and cooperation as the main processes of social and societal relations
  2. The (interpersonal/intergroup) nature of social conflicts
  3. Social, self-conscious and ”competitive” emotions (affiliation, pride, embarrassment, sense of guilt, shame, envy, jealousy)
  4. The individual and the group: social dilemmas and citizenship

The course considers the interpersonal and the intergroup competition and cooperation as the fundamental features of social/societal behaviour and unfolds this topic from different aspects. The course is announced in four possible versions focusing on different aspects of the topic of competition and cooperation. After the first thematic unit which discusses the relationship between competition and cooperation, the different forms of competition (constructive/destructive), the psychology of winning and losing, and the gender and cultural differences of competition, the second thematic unit focuses on the topic of conflict, the third on social emotions in relation to competition and cooperation, and finally the fourth on social dilemmas and citizenship.

  • Bercovich, V., Kremenyuk, V., Zartman, I.V. (2009) The Sage Handbook of Conflict Resolution. London: Sage Publications.
  • Keddy, P.A. (2001) Competition. Kluver Academic Publishers.
  • Schneider, B., Benenson, J., Fülöp, M., Berkics, M., Sándor, M. (2011) Cooperation and Competition. In: P.K. Smith, C.H. Hart (Eds) The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development. London: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 472-490.
  • Suleiman, R., Budescu, D.V., Fischer, I., Messick, D. M. (2004) Contemporary psychological research on social dilemmas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sullivan, B.A., Snyder, M., Sullivan, J.L. (2008) Cooperation. Blackwell Publishing.