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Obediance to Authority Completo

Obediance to Authority Completo

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Published by: api-3742556 on Oct 15, 2008
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“Stanley Milgram’s experiments on obedience to malevolent authorityseemed to me to be the most important social psychological researchdone in this generation.... The quality of exposition m the book is sohigh that it qualifies as literature as well as science:’ —ROGER BROWN,
 Harvard University
“This well-designed and brilliantly executed research study, reportedin an unusually fascinating and very readable style, reveals the elusiveand sometimes shocking conditions under which men obey
regardless of the morality involved.
 Library Journal 
“.....one of the most significant books
have read in more than twodecades of reviewing.’ —ROBERT KIRSCH,
 Los Angeles Times
“Milgram’s experiment-based analysis is a model of systematic, sequential, patient pursuit of answers to a significant social problem. Hisinvestigations accomplish what we should expect of responsible socialscience: to inform the intellect without trivializing the phenomenon” —HENRY W. RIECKEN,
“....a book that provides the most riveting and significant scientificreading thus far this year.... Milgram’s book is carefully assembled andconsidered research, but past that it is also a streamlined and scientificmetaphor for much of recent history. The resonance is deep, fromAuschwitz to My Lai the connections unavoidable, the implicationsaltogether cheerless.”- MICHAEL ROGERS,
 Rolling Stone
“A major contribution to our knowledge of man’s behavior. It establishes him firmly inthe front rank of social scientists in this generation.” —JEROME S. BRUNER,
Oxford University
PrefaceObedience, because of its very ubiquitousness, is easily overlooked as a subject of inquiry in social psychology. But without an appreciation of its role in shaping human action, a wide range of significant behavior cannot be understood. For an act carried out under command is, psychologically, of a profoundly different character than action that is spontaneous.The person who, with inner conviction, loathes stealing, killing, and assault may find himself  performing these acts with relative ease when commanded by authority. Behavior that is unthinkable inan individual who is acting on his own may be. executed without hesitation when carried out under orders.The dilemma inherent in obedience to authority is ancient, as old as the story of Abraham. What the present study does is to give the dilemma contemporary form by treating it as subject matter for experimental inquiry, and with the aim of understanding rather than judging it from a moral standpoint.The important task, from the standpoint of a psychological study of obedience, is to be able to takeconceptions of authority and translate them into personal experience. It is one thing to talk in abstractterms about the respective rights of the individual and of authority; it is quite another to examine amoral choice in a real situation. We all know about the philosophic problems of freedom and authority.But in every case where the problem is not merely academic there is a real person who must obey or disobey authority, a concrete instance when the act of defiance occurs. All musing prior to thismoment is mere speculation, and all acts of disobedience are characterized by such a moment of decisive action. The experiments are built around this notion.When we move to the laboratory, the problem narrows: if an experimenter tells a subject to act withincreasing severity against another person, under what conditions will the subject comply, and under what conditions will he disobey? The laboratory problem is vivid, intense, and real. It is not somethingapart from life, but carries to an extreme and very logical conclusion certain trends inherent in theordinary functioning of the social world.The question arises as to whether there is any connection between what we have studied in thelaboratory and the forms of obedience we so deplored in the Nazi epoch. The differences in the twosituations are, of course, enormous, yet the difference in scale, numbers, and political context mayturn out to be relatively unimportant as long as certain essential features are retained. The essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying outanother person’s wishes, and he therefore no longer regards himself as responsible for his actions.Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obediencefollow. The adjustment of thought, the freedom to engage in cruel behavior, and the types of justificationexperienced by the person are essentially similar whether they occur in a psychological laboratory or 
the control room of an ICBM site. The question of generality, therefore, is not resolved by enumeratingall the manifest differences between the psychological laboratory and other situations but by carefullyconstructing a situation that captures the essence of obedience-that is, a situation in which a persongives himself over to authority and no longer views him- self as the efficient cause of his own actions.To the degree that an attitude of willingness and the absence of compulsion is present, obedience iscolored by a cooperative mood; to the degree that the threat of force or punishment against the personis intimated, obedience is compelled by fear. Our studies deal only with obedience that is willinglyassumed in the absence of threat of any sort, obedience that is maintained through the simple assertion by authority that it has the right to exercise control over the person. Whatever force authority exercisesin this study is based on powers that the subject in some manner ascribes to it and not on any objectivethreat -or availability of physical means of controlling the subject.The major problem for the subject is to recapture control of his own regnant processes once he hascommitted them to the purposes of the experimenter. The difficulty this entails represents the poignantand in some degree tragic element in the situation under study, for nothing is bleaker than the sight of a person striving yet not fully able to control his own behavior in a situation of consequence to him.AcknowledgmentsThe experiments described here emerge from a seventy-five- year tradition of experimentation insocial psychology. Boris Sidis carried Out an experiment on obedience in 1898, and the studies of Asch, Lewin, Sherif, Frank, Block, Cartwright, French, Raven, Luchins, Lippitt, and White, amongmany others, have informed my work even when they are not specifically discussed. The contributionsof Adorno and associates and of Arendt, Fromm, and Weber are part of the zeitgeist in which socialscientists grow up. Three works have especially interested me. The first is the in- sightful Authority andDelinquency in the Modern State, by Alex Comfort; a lucid conceptual analysis of authority was written by Robert Bierstedt; and Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in the Ma- chine developed the idea of socialhierarchy in ~eater depth than the present book.The experimental research was carried out and completed while I was in the Department of Psychologyat Yale University, 1962-63. And I am grateful to the department for helping me with research facilitiesand good advice. In particular I would like to thank Professor Irving L. Janis.The late James McDonough of West Haven, Connecticut, played the part of the learner, and the study benefited from his unerring natural talents. John Williams of Southbury, Connecticut, served asexperimenter and performed an exacting role with precision. My thanks also to Alan Elms, Jon Wayland,Taketo Muata, Emil Elges, James Miller, and J. Michael Boss for work done in connection with theresearch.The research was supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation. Exploratorystudies carried out in 1960 were aided by a small grant from the Higgins Fund of Yale University. AGuggenheim Fellowship in 197275 gave me a year in Paris, away from academic duties, that allowed meto complete the book.

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