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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘crime & deviance’

Trump and the Attraction of the Extremist Political Hard Man

Donald Trump’s sending of his followers to Congress (Wednesday 6th) to protest the certifying of Joe Biden’s election victory ended the way it inevitably would: in violence. That Trump sent his followers as he did was bizarre. A single protest by a few thousand people was never going to stop Congress doing its job. The protest, of course, turned into a riot and the storming of Congress. That it got so far was equally bizarre. The followers becoming violent was so predictable it was nothing less than astonishing that the Capitol Police, who knew well in advance about the protest, weren’t much, much better prepared. The photo below shows how well the nearby Lincoln Memorial was protected during the Black Lives Matter protest in June last year. That Congress wasn’t equally well-protected beggars belief. The astonishing ineptitude of the police operation – especially when compared to the Lincoln Memorial guard -has prompted accusations of racial bias. (No doubt fuelled by video footage of some officers opening barriers for protestors and protestors’ selfies with compliant officers inside the Capitol building) In the immediate aftermath the media pundits around much of the world are puzzling about what the storming of Congress means for… Read More

Prejudice & Discrimination Theories #3

PART 3 Common In-Group Identity Model The Common In-Group Identity Model is a theoretical model proposed by Samuel Gaertner et al (1993) that outlines the processes through which inter-group bias may be reduced.  It is derived from the Social Identity Theory approach to inter-group behaviour. The model describes how intergroup bias can be reduced if members of different groups can be persuaded to see themselves to be part of the same, larger group, then they would develop more positive attitudes of the former out-group members. An individual will change the way they view the out-group through re-categorising former out-group members as members of the enlarged in-group. In other words, their existing schema set is modified by taking on board memes of shared values. Re-categorising is driven by giving the different groups a ‘common out-group’ that they are concerned about. Thus, they start to see themselves as having a shared in-group identity against the shared out-group. Eg: in soccer Manchester United vs Liverpool fan conflicts can be transcended by getting both sets of fans to see themselves as being England supporters vs Scotland supporters. Working together against the common ‘enemy’ creates a sense of homogeneity amongst the former opponents. Importantly, while  re-categorisation… Read More

The Prison Studies

Relaunched: 27 October 2020 Philip Zimbardo’s ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ (Craig Haney, Curtis Banks & Philip Zimbardo, 1973), is one of the most important, controversial and ethically dubious psychological studies ever undertaken – something of a classic bête noire on a par with some of Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. It raises issues around key psychological concepts such as the identification process in conformity and deindividuation – along with a plethora of ethical issues. Thus, it is a critically-important study for a number of reasons – not least because, according to Zimbardo, it tells us how people will conform to a group norm. Sometimes with very disturbing results. Some 30 years later Steve Reicher & Alex Haslam (2006) carried out a partial replication of Stanford – their study is often referred to as the ‘BBC Prison Study’ because the BBC funded the study and edited it into a series which was broadcast in 2006. The outcome of their study was quite different to that of Zimbardo. However,  these different outcomes can be explained via complementary psychological theories. The Stanford Prison Experiment Zimbardo was interested in testing the dispositional hypothesis that widespread problems in American prisons were due to the intrinsic nature of the prison guards and… Read More

The Prison Studies #3

PART 3 Rejecting Inequality (Days 1 to 6) (cont) Days 3-4 On Day 3 the guards decided which prisoner should be promoted – the selection of the individual being made by the guards on the basis of a procedure suggested by the researchers. After this promotion, the possibility of movement was removed by announcing that there would be no further promotions (or demotions) – thus, stating that the situation was now impermeable.. With permeability shut down, the prisoners now took on the guards as a group. Almost instantly they began to act together and started to agree norms of behaviour. They started teasing the guards, humiliating them and challenging their authority. On Day 4 3 of the prisoners defied 3 guards, demanding better food. The guards could not agree how to respond, so came off worse in the confrontation. Low group identity amongst the guards led to ineffective leadership. The daily psychometric for social identification – see left – shows it to be much weaker amongst the guards than the prisoners from Day 3. Day 5 With the prison in disorder the researchers made their second planned intervention on the morning of Day 5. An experienced trade union negotiator (prisoner 10) was introduced as a… Read More

SocioPsychological Factors in Crime #4

PART 4 Defining behaviour as crime Picking up from Sutherland’s 9th principle – also discussed earlier when exploring the work of Bonger and considered in Crime & Deviance – the Difference – who decides what is criminal and what is deviant is no simple matter. Nor are there absolute definitions as even Functionalists argue definitions can change over time and between cultures. In the Interactionist view laws are, to all intents and purposes, political products that reflect the power of some groups to impose on others their memes of right and wrong and normality. Thus, Anthony Giddens (1993, p128) writes: “The labels applied to create categories of deviance thus express the power structures of society.” This goes beyond the Marxist view that the social control is about Capitalists using the law to control the working classes.  Howard Becker’s (1963) application of Labelling Theory to crime and deviance posits that, rather than a fixed scenario of the Capitalists dictating values that reflect their interests in society and are enforced via the legal system, in fact politics is a competition between different groups to gain the power to impose their values on others. Routes to such power obviously include legislative institutions such as Parliament… Read More

Could the Political Centre be making a Comeback?

    Could it just be that, with Bernie Sanders’ 13 April endorsement of Joe Biden as Democratic candidate in November’s presidential election – see the ABC News clip above – and the 4 April ascension of Keir Starmer to leadership of the Labour Party, the ‘centre’ is making a comeback in American and British politics? A new poll reported by The London Economic’s Jack Peat puts the centrist Starmer’s net favourability 50 points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn, the ‘hardcore leftie’ he succeeded. (Of course, Corbyn was not really the Marxist the right-wing media slandered him as, though his views  were well to the left of Labour under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and even Ed Miliband) Meanwhile Sanders’ concession to Biden effectively signals the end of what might be termed the Democrats’ ‘hard left’ campaign to win the nomination for presidential candidate. (By ‘hard left’ here, we mean the leftie side of social democracy; again Sanders is nothing like the Marxist some on the hard right claim he is!) Biden is decidedly centrist in his politics – some might even argue right of centre – but that enables him potentially to pick up leftie Republican votes, especially those who are totally… Read More

Has Boris Johnson inadvertently done Us a Favour?

Boris Johnson has been roundly pilloried by the left-leaning press and by socialists and liberals on social media for his comments about burqa-wearing Muslim women looking “ridiculous” because burqas make their wearers look like “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”. But the criticisms have come not just from the left. Theresa May and Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis are among top Tories who have called for Johnson to apologise. The party has received so many complaints, an investigation into whether Johnson’s already- infamous article in the Daily Telegraph has brought the party into disrepute is proposed. Separately some MPs – such as Labour’s Jon Trickett – have called for Johnson to be disciplined for breaking the Ministerial Code (BBC News, 2018d). In the wake of Johnson’s Telegraph article, there has been a spike in attacks on Muslim women wearing burqas and niqabs – reported by The Independent’s Lizzie Dearden, among others. This tweet by Amanda Fleiss and posted to Facebook by Huddersfield TUC captures the indignity and distress of one such attack. As reported by The Independent’s Joe Watts (2018b) amongst others, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has demanded that Johnson is subjected to a full disciplinary investigation and that there is… Read More

The 5Ps #3

PART 3 Summary In the early days of an SDi enterprise we consider the issues, stakeholders and their intentions – and the complex environment in which they mesh. This helps us to broaden our apertures and create new understanding. As this exploration ripens, we take our enhanced understanding and transform it into new possibilities. This can take the form of developing future scenarios and/or pilot projects. To maintain momentum and deepen learning, we share stories, practice new skills and assess the outcomes of our initiatives. As we learn by doing, members of the MeshWORK endeavour continuously refine, adapt and align the 5 components to achieve superordinate goals. Practical application: An appreciation for Afghan culture played an integral role in our collaborative approach to successfully addressing socio-economic needs in impoverished villages. Close observation showed us positive deviance and culturally-relevant solutions. Brainstorming helped us discover common ground. Collaborative forums facilitated collective action. Storytelling generated momentum. A collaborative approach, embraced by our senior and junior leaders, helped build a countryside network of stakeholders. This network coalesced around mutual interests that focused on security, stability, development and governance at the local, regional and national levels. By building bridges between Kabul-based organizations and rural communities, we… Read More

The 5Ps #2

PART 2 Process Just as careful consideration in selecting the appropriate people and place are critical factors in a successful MeshWORKS effort, the process that stakeholders use also requires thoughtful planning. From an SDi perspective, this means creating alignment and integration in the MeshWORK’s design. In alignment we gather pertinent stakeholders with diverse vMEMES to identify the root causes of the challenge and paint a comprehensive picture of what is happening in the environment. This helps us to understand what we will do with whom. This thoughtful analysis sets up for success during the integration phase where we put our strategic vision into action. W conduct pilot projects, learn and adapt, and scale accordingly all the while scanning the environment for patterns. In this phase, then, we focus on how we should support stakeholders to address their concerns. A MeshWORKS process should enable stakeholders to listen to and respect each other and to suspend judgement in order for everyone to voice new possibilities to the best of their abilities. This is not just an exercise in coming together to share information. The process evolves over time as stakeholders listen to each other and learn about each other’s concerns. This in turn… Read More

Online Censorship: where do we draw the Line?

by Carla White  I am delighted to publish this ‘guest blog’ by Carla White. Carla is an experienced writer and blogger who describes herself as “passionate about looking deeper into the world around us”. She writes ‘alternative’ news posts for numerous websites and also has experience running and maintaining websites. She says: “You can always find me at my laptop, with a cup of coffee!” You can email Carla to find out more about her work. Social conditioning has a considerable effect on crime. It was Émile Durkheim who first noted the existence of a values consensus when, in 1893, he wrote about a collective consciousness that defines societal norms and makes certain acts unthinkable to conforming citizens. This idea is one regularly used by governments as justification for censorship. By reiterating the taboo nature of certain topics, they hope to reduce mass indulgence in these things. Admittedly, this tactic has seen success. Child pornography, bestiality and cold-blooded murder are just some examples of topics that incite shock and terror in the hearts of most. However, whenever information is restricted on a national scale, an ethical question is raised. At what point does information control become an active manipulation of the collective conscience? A brief… Read More