Connor Bildfell

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This paper will explore the following core question: What are the various ways in which a known subject may respond to the “faceless other,” and how do we navigate and explain that choice? I will proceed as follows: Parts I and II synthesize the literature on identity and anonymity in conflicts. Part I focuses on understanding the behavior of the “faceless other”, and Part II examines theories as to how the subject responds to the “faceless other.” In Part III, I argue that, when faced with IRIA, we typically adopt one of five common (though often ill-advised) responses. These are by no means exhaustive of the potential responses, but they broadly represent five common reactions to the IRIA dilemma. Which response is preferable will depend on the context of the conflict. Part IV introduces a sixth approach: embracing asymmetry. I will argue that embracing asymmetry is a far less common, but often more fruitful, response. Part V adds a final piece to the puzzle: culture. Part VI provides a conclusion.