Rebels in Groups: Dissent, Deviance, Difference and Defiance

Rebels in Groups: Dissent, Deviance, Difference and Defiance

Rebels in Groups: Dissent, Deviance, Difference and Defiance

Rebels in Groups: Dissent, Deviance, Difference and Defiance

Synopsis

With contributions from leading scholars in the field, Rebels in Groups brings together the latest research which, contrary to traditional views, considers dissent, deviance, difference and defiance to be a normal and healthy aspect of group life.
  • Brings together the latest research on the role of dissent, deviance, difference and defiance within groups
  • Presents a new approach which considers dissent, deviance, difference and defiance to be a normal and healthy aspect of group life
  • Examines a broad range of groups, such as political groups, task groups, and teams in organizations
  • Considers diverse fields of psychology, including social, organizational, and developmental psychology
  • Contributors are among the leading scholars in their areas of psychology

Excerpt

Jolanda Jetten and Matthew J. Hornsey

To illustrate a principle you must exaggerate much and you must omit much
(Walter Bagehot)

Serge Moscovici started his 1976 book, Social Influence and Social Change, with the above quote. Even though it is not immediately clear for the naive reader how this quote relates to the content of the book, it quickly becomes apparent that Moscovici is not referring to processes relating to understanding conformity, dependence and minority influence. Instead, he is commenting on our practices when conducting research in this field. What is the exaggeration that Moscovici is referring to?

Before answering this question, it is important to assess what Moscovici’s book was trying to achieve. One of the main aims of his book was to examine the tension between the pressure of conforming versus the forces pushing for innovation and change. Of course, no one will dispute the omnipresence of these two opposing forces that guide our individual and group behaviour on a daily basis. Given this, why is it that social scientists have been more interested in what makes people conform than in what makes them defy authority and group pressure? Or as Moscovici put it: why do we exaggerate conformity and downplay processes relating to rebellion?

We do not have to look far to understand what Moscovici is referring to. For example, why is it that we are more interested in understanding why 12 per cent of participants in the classic Asch line study conformed on all trials than in the 24 per cent of participants who never conformed at all (Asch, 1951)? Why do we focus on explaining the 63 per cent of participants taking part in Milgram’s study in 1963 who delivered what they thought was the maximum shock of 450 volts to a learner, and not on the 37 per cent of participants who insisted at some stage in the study that they did not want to . . .

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