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Reicher & Haslam Rethinking The Psychology of Tyranny. Background. What were Reicher & Haslam interested in?. Rethinking the Psychology of Tyranny Tyranny: the arbitrary and/or oppressive exercise of power in an unequal social system. Why did tyranny need rethinking?. Zimbardo’s SPE

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Reicher haslam rethinking the psychology of tyranny

Reicher & HaslamRethinking The Psychology of Tyranny

Background


What were reicher haslam interested in
What were Reicher & Haslam interested in?

  • Rethinking the Psychology of Tyranny

  • Tyranny: the arbitrary and/or oppressive exercise of power in an unequal social system


Why did tyranny need rethinking
Why did tyranny need rethinking?

  • Zimbardo’s SPE

  • Implications of SPE

  • Changing face of tyranny

  • Rise in number of people imprisoned

  • Alternative theory – SIT



Issues from spe
Issues from SPE

  • Conclusions focussed on the power of social roles & group membership in shaping behaviour. People have little choice in what they do, they behave according to assigned roles

  • Implications of these conclusions

  • Tyrants cannot be held responsible for what they do, and so should not be challenged, their behaviour is an inevitable product of the situation they are in


Issues from spe1
Issues from SPE

  • Ethics

  • Ideas from SPE have not really been tested or challenged as conditions in the study became so extreme study had to be terminated, not thought possible to replicate the study ethically

  • SPE conducted in 1969




Changing face of tyranny
Changing face of Tyranny roles and group membership?


Changing face of tyranny1
Changing face of Tyranny roles and group membership?


Abu gharib
Abu Gharib roles and group membership?

In 2004 it came to public attention

that Iraqi prisoners at Abu Gharib were being abused at the hands of American soldiers.

  • Prisoners were stripped naked sexually humiliated, they were wired up and told to stand on a box – if they fell off they would be electrocuted.

  • They were beaten and tortured both physically and psychologically all whilst soldiers took pictures of themselves smiling with their thumbs up next to their victims.

  • Several soldiers were tried and convicted to as many as 10 years in prison for their actions.

  • Many blamed the hideousness of the situation, orders from above and a lack of information on how to behave appropriately


Changing prison populations
Changing Prison Populations roles and group membership?

  • If putting people into prisons makes their behaviour worse and the behaviour of their guards brutal then we need to look again at our criminal justice system.

  • Over 9 million people are imprisoned world wide

  • In England & Wales 80,000 people are imprisoned, a huge rise since the 1960’s


Alternative theories sit
Alternative Theories - SIT roles and group membership?

  • Social Identity Theory

  • People only act in terms of group membership if they identify with the group (self categorisation)


Self categorisation
Self categorisation roles and group membership?

  • Permeability

  • If group members believe that it is possible to move out of the group they will not categorise themselves as group members


Self categorisation1
Self categorisation roles and group membership?

  • Security

  • How aware are the group members of alternative ways of thinking about the group membership and the relationship with other groups, if they are aware of alternatives they may challenge inequalities


Dispositional vs situational hypothesis
Dispositional vs. Situational Hypothesis roles and group membership?

  • Dispositional – tyranny is a direct result of individual characteristics that pre-exist in a person

  • Situational hypothesis – anybody will behave in a tyrannical way when placed in a certain situation or role regardless of their personal characteristics


Free will
Free will? roles and group membership?

Free will – we have choices about the way we behave

Determinism – we are forced to behave in a particular way because of the situation we are in


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