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In its current formulation as a subspeciality of psychology, and in spite of the term, social, in its title, most contemporary social psychology reveals an unfortunate preference for what can be referred to as a monologic rather than a dialogic perspective for understanding humankind (e.g., see Bakhtin, 1981; Bavelas, Coates & Johnson, 2000; Dewey & Bentley, 1949; Fay, Garrod & Carletta, 2000; Mead, 1934; Sampson, 2008; Vygotsky, 1978). Each of these theorists argues that the others with whom people
engage in a dialogue—I refer to them as the dialogic partner-- hold the keys to understanding the social processes by which the person’s sense of self and of social reality is formed. Without their dialogic partners, people would not be the persons they are: “mind and all its attributes as well as personality and personal identity (i.e., self)
are emergents of a dialogic, conversational process and remain socially rooted as an ongoing accomplishment of that process “ (Sampson, 2008, p. 107). The monologism reflected in contemporary social psychological theory and research is based on the cultural domination of a self-contained view of the person (Sampson, 1977), in which people are understood to be distinct and well-bounded entities, containers within which is housed all that is important to know in order to understand who and what they are. Dialogism, by contrast, insists that people and their social world are constituted in and through joint activities that do “ not belong to either speaker or listener alone. Dialogue is not simply information transmission between
2 individuals but is a reciprocal process of co-construction” (Bavelas, et al, 2000, p. 951). Dialogism makes two related points. First, it argues that people are inextricably interconnected with one another, joined by the various conversations in which they participate. Second, it maintains that people’s identities are constituted and their social world is shaped by virtue of those conversations with their various dialogic partners. In short, the dialogic partner occupies a central position in everyone’s life, determining not only who and what the person is but also the shape of their social reality. No complete grasp of the person can be achieved without knowing who their dialogic partners are. And yet, in spite of the critical importance of the dialogic partner, it is surprising that little if any systematic work has been conducted attempting to provide an organizing scheme or typology of such partners. It is also surprising that even advocates of the dialogical approach tend to restrict themselves to one type of partner, namely, the person who occupies the direct, face-to-face position in a conversation. It is my intention in the following paper to correct this oversight by introducing a typology of dialogic partners based on the ideas of Alfred Schutz ( (1971) and used so effectively by Geertz (1973) in his field work in Bali.
A FOURFOLD TYPOLOGY OF DIALOGIC PARTNERS
Schutz (1971), a well known phenomenologist and sociologist of everyday life, was interested in examining what he referred to as the structure of the social world that people encounter in their everyday lives. He was especially interested in mapping the
These are the four types that Geertz (1973) employed in describing the everyday social world of the Balinese.3 manner by which the social relationships between Person and Other were organized.g. p. I will freely mix both Schutz’s and Geertz’s formulations and examples. admitting at the outset that the categories he formulated were imperfect and somewhat overlapping. CONSOCIATES Consociates describe those with whom people share both time and space. Milgram’s (1965. 390). Festinger. and successors. The consociate is the usual dialogic partner we think of when we consider a conversation between Person and Other. contemporaries. 1974) program of research on obedience to authority. predecessors. see Asch. 1952.. arguing that who the Other was contributed to shaping the person’s experiences. In their everyday lives. In describing this typology. Some examples of consociates cited by Geertz include: “spouses until they . How the Balinese organized their experiences of their fellowmen and women helped shape how they experienced themselves as well. People and their consociates have a co-presence: “the other’s body. his gait and facial expressions are immediately observable” (Schutz. 1971. people meet their consociates on a direct face-to-face basis. in the typical study of social comparison and social influence (e. his gestures. 1954) as well as the case illustration we examine later. though useful: consociates. The consociate is the type who typically appears in the social psychological research laboratory when direct. face-to-face interaction between Person and Other is studied: for example. Schutz formulated a fourfold typology of possible Person-Other relationships.
for example. with the result that my letter will reach the addressee within typically reasonable time” (Schutz. Contemporaries include the host of relatively anonymous others who not only make up the person’s social world but without whom that world would not be possible. strangers chatting on a train. hagglers in a market.. 17) Contemporaries include those who comprise the person’s cultural background. or inhabitants of a village: any set of persons who have an immediate. I expect that unknown people. including the cohort into which they are born and within whose purview they are raised: : relatively anonymous others who are critical in shaping the life’s chances a person confronts.. but typically do not meet directly with them face-to-face. One example that Schutz (1971) employs is the postman: “Putting a letter in the mailbox. p. face-to-face relationship” (Geertz. their contemporaries) more than they do their fathers (e. will act in a typical way. 1971.e. CONTEMPORARIES Contemporaries share time but not space. find some . p.4 separate or friends until they fall out…members of orchestras. This meaning is captured in the Arab proverb suggesting that people resemble the times in which they live (i. 1965). not quite intelligible to me. 365). People live at the same time as their contemporaries and therefore share history with them. see Ryder. called postmen. 1973.g. Members of the baby boom generation. players at games.
the health care and retirement systems are stretched to their limits.5 opportunities closed to them simply by virtue of living in more crowded conditions with greater demands on social services: schools are crowded. Predecessors. however. And yet. contemporaries are a vital part of everyone’s life. can and often do play a vital role in the person’s life: for example when people turn to their family’s tradition in their efforts to decide on a career choice or when the family’s reputation is used to evaluate their actions in light of what their family might think of them. As we will shortly see. These examples illustrate how people’s lives are shaped by the actions of multiple Others with whom they usually do not interact directly. SUCCESSORS . contemporaries usually do not enter the analyses nor conclusions emerging from the social psychological research laboratory. 1965 for more on cohort effects). PREDECESSORS People share neither time nor space and thus do not interact directly with their predecessors. These are people who have already lived. they comprise the culture that shapes each person’s social reality. yet without whom their lives would not function as they do. they can be known about but are not usually met on a face-to-face basis. They are usually not included as a source of behavioral variation. These Others effect each individual and yet remain relatively anonymous members of the person’s cohort (see Ryder.
. (3) There is the potential for conflicts as well as harmonies between and among the four types. may play an important role in shaping a person’s life. Another example that has appeared in the recent political arena involves the person whose current record of performance in office leaves much to be desired and so they concentrate on the legacy they will leave for the future. and (d) situational demands. all four types of dialogic partner can have an effect on the person. may skimp on their own funds in order to open education savings accounts for the benefit of their hoped for but not yet born grandchildren. Some grandparents. but perhaps yet to be. not now. (b) personality. for example. even though they are promises of a future not here. (2) The salience of each type in any given situation varies as a function of (a) culture. THREE KEY POINTS There are three major points to be made about the fourfold typology of PersonOther relationships we have briefly outlined: (1) In spite of the dominance of one type of dialogic partner. Their successors play a more central role in their lives than the other types we have considered. the consociate. for example. Future children or grandchildren not yet born. in most social psychological experimental work.6 People also do not share either time nor space with their successors because the successor is not yet born but remains a figure within a future still to arrive. (c) role.
identity and actions are shaped by their dialogic partners. SALIENCE VARIES. (b) personal dispositions. abstract and anonymous fellowmen” (Geertz. p.7 ALL FOUR TYPES EFFECT THE PERSON. 1973. and not just the familiar consociate category. “that the most striking thing about the culture patterns in which Balinese notions of personal identity are embodied is the degree to which they depict virtually everyone…even the dead and the unborn—as stereotyped contemporaries. If the person’s thoughts.389) . CULTURAL PRIORITIES. (c) role obligations and (d) specific situational circumstances. Geertz’s (1973) interest in the fourfold typology of Person-Other relationships was in part motivated by his observations made while doing fieldwork in Bali. Each of the four types of Person-Other relationship. plays a significant role in shaping Person’s behavior. When we shortly review the Milgram paradigm for studying obedience. The typology describes relationship possibilities that can vary in their salience as a function of (a) cultural priorities. predecessors and successors—can and do play a significant shaping role in people’s lives. and if there are several different types of such partners beyond those directly encountered on a face-to-face basis. we will better see how these otherwise ignored types influence person’s behavior beyond the view examined by Milgram and others. then it seems reasonable to argue that the usually ignored types –contemporaries. He commented.
1). Mr. 1996. As Geertz notes for the Balinese and as Kristof documents among rural Japanese families. though dead. p. however. remains a “respected presence in the house. Kristof goes on to describe how typical this kind of event is among many rural Japanese households in which a person. 1). p. may be less primary and even supplanted by types to whom we pay little attention because they are not our consociates. the types of dialogic partner whom many in the West consider to have primacy sufficient to trump those who are now deceased predecessors.. Saio Akita enters his friend’s house.e. regularly consulted by family members on important matters” (Kristof. PERSONALITY DISPOSITIONS. namely that individuals may vary in their personal . and ask him for assistance. among other cultures. 1). 1996. I am not aware of any personality inventories developed specifically to examine individual dispositions that give priority to one or the other type of the four relationships we have been considering. which of the four will take precedence. The point is that cultural priorities establish preferences among the four types of dialogic partner: i. died last November.8 An illustration of what Geertz means appears in article under the byline of Nicholas Kristof reported in the New York Times of September 29. Akita was simply being polite. “death doesn’t break family ties” (p. “even if he is neither exactly a person or exactly present” (Kristof. first addressing the eldest person in the room. 1996. In order to assess what seems plausible. offer him a drink. kept current on everything that affects the family and included in all family meals. bypasses the family members gathered in the living room so that he may first chat with his friend. The friend. Kristof derscribes a typical event in a rural Japanese family in which.
to be less influenced by the present face-to-face group than those persons for whom predecessors or one of the other types rank much higher? ROLE OBLIGATIONS. For example.. than their predecessors. For example. for example. one would have to develop a newly cast personality inventory inquiring about the person’s ranking of each of the four types of Person-Other relationship. are some individuals characteristically disposed to focus most of their attention on their predecessors. Devine. Greenwald & Banaji. for example. 1989. as people age within a culture and move through various occupations and family positions. A third source contributing to the preferences for a type of dialogic partner that may dominate a person’s experience involves the specific role demands that the person confronts.g. reminding the person of her or his . seems more likely to occur once the person reaches a position of birthing offspring or having grandchildren than prior to these new roles.9 preferences for a dialogic partner. ranking consociates much lower? How might this preference hierarchy affect their behavior in the typical situation examined in social psychological research –for example. the demands on them may dictate different kinds of relational interests. conformity or obedience studies—in which consociates tend to be the most prominent type of dialogic partner? Would we not expect that persons who are disposed to pay less attention to their consociates. as research on priming has suggested (e. any given situation may trigger or prime a specific type of relational interest: for example. 1995). SITUATIONAL DEMANDS. Finally. Being concerned with one’s successors.
Suppose further that the experiment calls for the person to engage in some harmful action directed towards another individual and that they share this task with two others in the room.10 deceased spouse may prime responses guided by their regained sensitivity to that person’s wishes. the person’s behavioral choices would be affected. It would seem reasonable to design a study in which a specific type of dialogic partner was primed: for example. say the contemporaries. 1997. Suppose further that this person signs up for an experiment to meet requirements for an Introductory Psychology class.g. by having research participants read preliminary material involving references to family life and family interests prior to placing them into a situation in which. other subjects in the experimental room. the latter. The former. were the family relationship successfully primed.. who has journeyed to the less peaceful United States in order to attend college. may agree to engage in harmdoing and so suggest the sojourner join in with them. the peaceful society of which the person is a member. CONFLICTING OR HARMONIZING DIALOGIC PARTNERS. even contradictory understandings among and between the four types as well as harmonizing directives from the four types. the face-toface consociates may offer a definition of the situation that conflicts with that of another type. 1989). The third point to be made about the fourfold typology of dialogic partners involves the possibility that there may be conflicting. Bonta. For example. calls on them to avoid any actions that might harm another person. It is not difficult to imagine a conflict between the person’s contemporaries and consociates. Suppose that the person in the study were a member of what has been referred to as a peaceful society (e. . Howell & Willis.
Collins & Brief.. Milgram’s studies on obedience provide one of the most well known experiments in psychology familiar as well to members of the larger public. In his own words. so long as they . Milgram’s (1965. “A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do. having become part of the wider cultural discussions on the potentially harmful effects of seemingly blind obedience to authority. 1974) studies of obedience to authority. In order to explore these and other possibilities. the directives could all converge around a common theme. perhaps the most striking conclusion to be drawn from the Milgram’s studies was their demonstration of the potency of the situation in explaining obedience to authority. Miller. In this case. But there is another possibility: a harmony between and among the four partners. it is not difficult to image a variety of conflicts. 1995) have commented.11 Given that a fourfold typology can generate at least six potentially conflicting dialogic partners. I intend to use Milgram’s (1963. MILGRAM’S OBEDIENCE STUDIES: AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE TYPOLOGY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS In order to further examine the typology of Person-Other relationships. Arguably. both to see how it operates in a concrete case as well to observe how it modifies and enriches our understanding of the dynamics of obedience to authority. I turn now to a case illustration. As both Burger (2009) and others (e.g. rather than conflicting directives. 1974) studies as an illustrative case. irrespective of the content of the act and without limitation of conscience.
Milgram changed the faceto-face relationship between the research participants and the so-called victim. He reports that the obedient consociates. An examination of those situational variations reveals that for the most part. only proper circumstances. Miller. the banality of evil. 75). 1965. these and other similar variations focused almost exclusively on the consociate type of person-other relationship. In yet another variation. a conclusion seconded by Burger’s (2009) more recent replication. produced no difference in the participant’s level of obedience to the . from the perspective I have been advancing. Orders were delivered by means of a tape-recorded message.12 perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority” (Milgram. Milgram also introduced another variation involving consociates by introducing either obedient or disobedient partners. only one type of Person-Other relationship from the fourfold typology we have been considering was included: the consociate. et al (1995) noted that he examined some 20 situational variations in design before concluding that indeed the situation was more potent than personality or character in explaining participant’s behavior. While the distance between the research participants and the authority or victim did make a difference in the level of obedience he observed. Milgram varied the face-to-face relationship between the research participants and the authority figure by removing the authority from the room and from any direct meeting with the participants. usually two in number. Echoes of the Nazi atrocities and of Arendt’s (1963) phrase. in other words. for example. In one of his studies. led most commentators. to believe that evil acts could be carried out by anyone: evil. both in the field and beyond. p. In summarizing Milgram’s research. did not require bad people.
Rather than focusing on these more traditional features of the individual. In all of this and other similar variations. we remain uninformed about how the three other types of relationship. helped to decrease the participant’s own level of obedience to the requests of the authority.. For example.13 authority’s directives over what was found with only the authority present. disobedient consociates.g. Clearly. however. empathy. Burger’s (2009) recent replication reports similar findings. In short. the typology of dialogic partners suggests that some people may characteristically guide their behavior in terms of one or more of the other types of dialogic partner. might have influenced the findings and compelled us to reconsider the usual conclusions regarding obedience. what types of people are more likely to be concerned with predecessors or successors rather than the consociates that predominated the Milgram paradigm and that are typically most in evidence in other social psychological research. the typology of dialogic partners invites us to an expanded view of what might have been included as a situational variable as well as what features of personality might be operating: e. 2009). in order to examine these other possibilities. an assessment of individual preferences for dialogic partner would have to be undertaken.g. it seems reasonable to speculate that person’s for whom predecessors are most salient might act differently in the Milgram paradigm than those for whom consociates are of the highest priority. The typology also invites us to speculate on matters of personality that may prove more fruitful to examine than the traits often examined in the Milgram paradigm: e. What might Milgram’s research reveal about obedience were the three other types of dialogic partner given serious consideration? Although somewhat speculative at this . however. the need to control (see Burger.. had they been examined.
As though recognizing the potential importance of the contemporary. He replicated Milgram’s paradigm some three decades after the original. efforts to repeat Milgram’s obedience studies in various cultures. Burger’s (2009) recently published replication provides us with a hint about generational possibilities. a cohort. Milgram’s original studies did not focus on this type of Other. as summarized by Smith and Bond (1998). were cohort differences really in effect in his replication? As for broader cultural differences that might be involved in the Milgram paradigm. yet nothing coherent . But was this passage of time sufficient to produce the kind of generational or cohort differences that would provide a fair test of the concept of contemporary. and members of their culture. On the other hand. Milgram had hoped to be able to replicate his studies at Berkeley. all of whom help shape their choices and actions. or was this merely the passage of time? In other words. no significant difference in obedience between his findings and Milgram’s earlier work. a campus known at the time for its high degree of protest and rejection of authority (personal communication). it would nevertheless be a useful thought experiment to examine each of the remaining three types of dialogic partner and posit their effects on obedience. revealed some differences.14 time. reporting for the most part. CONTEMPORARIES AND OBEDIENCE Recall that the dialogic partner as a contemporary refers to the legion of anonymous others who share person’s time in history. This opportunity never materialized. For the most part. including a generation. however.
We do know that members of these peaceful societies are generally nonaggressive. even avoiding the kind of rough housing games typical of youth in The United States. can be made out of the fact that 85% of the small sample of Germans in one study were obedient as compared with the 65% reported by Milgram: a statistically nonsignificant difference. Wouldn’t they be likely to resist the harmdoing demanded of them in the Milgram situation? In addition. What is missing from the summary of studies reported by Smith and Bond and from their conclusion that whatever the culture. It seems reasonable to posit that contemporaries do have an effect on the person’s obedience to harmful authority but that the research documenting this effect has not yet been reported. PREDECESSORS. which it was not. It is not clear. what. is that no research has been reported based on truly distinct societies: for example. the peaceful tribes reported by Howell and Willis (1989) or by Bonta (1997). the effects of a nation at war on domestic rates of violent acts reported by Archer and Gartner (1984). for example. I am unaware of any research that has systematically examined this intriguing possibility. SUCCESSORS AND OBEDIENCE .15 in itself. if we are genuinely interested in understanding such ob edience. it would seem that we would have to extend our focus well beyond the consociates that have tended to predominate in such work. large numbers of people complied with authority. Yet. if anything. might appear as a cohort effect in the Milgram study were it to have been examined. suggesting that national war provokes heightened aggression at home.
In their fascinating study of the French village of Le Chambon’s response to the French and Nazi entreaties to turn over all the Jews for deportation to the camps for . we can see that his emphasis lies primarily with consociates. minimally with contemporaries. a view that brought central focus to a communal or familial tradition. For someone to converse with a predecessor within the Milgram research design would require that the individual take a broader view of the situation in which they found themselves. social reality is clearly much enlarged over the usual position we adopt. most social psychologists operating within the broad North American context usually do not even think of either of these two types as relevant to their investigations. Social reality. Returning to our case example. Milgram’s studies of obedience. that these categories are culturally denied to us. not at all with predecessors or successors. in short. we fail to think dialogically and thus exclude certain types of other dialogic partners from our interest. the predecessors and successors? First of all. does not begin nor end with those persons immediately present but in many cases also includes the other types of dialogic partner we have been considering. for example. rather.16 What about the remaining two types of dialogic partner. What is the actual weight of face-toface interaction with one’s consociates when considered in this larger context? In the scheme presented here. Although absent from Milgram’s own work. we can nevertheless speculate on what the results might have been if his research participants were to gauge their behavior in terms of predecessors or successors. We are led to believe that there is only a limited. restricted set of Others with whom Persons converse in forming their opinions and actions. It is not the case. and for the most part. however. out of which their behavior grew.
those who came before the present moment. These ordinary citizens of Le Chambon managed to conceal over 3500 Jews. One of the key elements in this resistance rather than obedience to authority involved both the Christian as well as the Huguenot tradition of the villagers. it seems that the citizens of Le Chambon illustrate a concern with both predecessors. Their “goodness”. Rochat and Modigliani (1995) give us a description of how an entire village rose up to resist the Nazis. to use the terms employed by Rochat and Modigliani. they had a lengthy tradition of their own persecution as a religious minority to guide them in their current resistance to the French and Nazi rule. as descendants of Huguenots.17 extinction. Both the fourfold typology of dialogic partners and the illustrative case of Milgram’s studies and their many offshoots invite us to conclude . in defiance of the orders directed to them by their Nazi overlords but in concert with their deeper values regarding human life and tradition. In terms of the typology I have been developing. I was only following orders”. I am not responsible for the harmful acts of which I am accused. as well as successors. Whatever the complex of forces impinging on the villagers of Le Chambon. those who would follow. emerged from carrying on a dialogue with a much broader and extensive set of others. they were clearly listening and conversing with more than their consociates. As Christians. the villagers were asked by their Pastors to refuse to participate in any nonChristian acts of violence towards others. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR UNDERSTANDING GOOD AND EVIL “I am not guilty.
preference for the research techniques we saw illustrated in Milgram’s studies that give predominance to consociates over the other possibilities we have considered. we see that in order to understand both good deeds and evil ones. more extended and diverse set of others. Arendt’s (1963) construal of the banality. of evil. as well as psychology’s and the public’s eagerness to adopt these teachings. consociates) is to ignore how good acts require that people attend to the past and the future in order to be realized while evil deeds seem more at home in the immediacy of the now.. This understanding of evil is aided by psychology’s. Evil appears ordinary only when we focus our attention almost exclusively on consociates and the conversations directly held with those face-to-face others who populate the person’s everyday world. To remain rooted to those who function in the immediate present (i.e. Once we introduce the array of dialogic partners who can and often do participate in shaping person’s social world. have been based on a limited perspective on the dialogic partners with whom people draw their view of reality and make their own choices. the ordinariness. Few among us would give much weight to good acts that were they carried out in response to the presence of consociate influence.18 something about the nature of evil and good and to comment on the role of psychology in challenging the former and encouraging the latter. we must refocus our attention on this a wider. How could an act be considered good if it were to issue from a person copying the deeds of others with whom they were in direct contact? Would we truly consider an act to be good if the person carried it out in response to another’s order? Would we consider an act to be good if the person carried . Milgram’s demonstration of the truth of this formulation. especially social psychology’s.
Likewise. The direct. And. I believe that the evil deeds carried out by the Nazis remained rooted in the world of the consociate but could have been challenged had a wider focus been part of their attention. It would seem.19 it out in responser to a consociate’s orders? As the analysis of the citizens of Le Chambon suggests. demands that we assess the scheme I have presented to determine if. what about the Milgram situation? Had participants included contemporaries. predecessors or successors in their array of dialogic partners. therefore. On the other hand. And. the psychology could benefit humanity by helping people to see that their world is not simply inhabited by their direct dialogic partners here-and-now present. A reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the preceding analyses and illustrative . The task. face-to-face and immediately present consociates definer a social world in ways that on later reflection we might wish to have avoided. when it is so defined. as I have suggested. therefore. but can also be constructed in terms of the other types of partner. good deeds follow from something beyond the immediately presented situation. then. increases the likelihood of human acts. the broader and more extensive focus it offers. ev il deeds appear to issue primarily b ecause one’s consociates predominate in the dialogue. The villagers of Le Chambon resisted doing harm in the name of listening to something or someone larger and grander than the immediately present peers. Our contribution to human wellbeing. to help people listen and talk to voices coming to them from beyond the present. it becomes less likely that evil deeds will emerge. it seems likely that they would not have agreed to follow the directives of the authorityexperimenter.
The typology we have been considering would lead to a very different conclusion.20 case of obedience to authority is that social reality is far more complex and open to considerably more expansive shaping than social psychology has revealed. it seems likely that in order to produce genocidal actions. lay commentary. Milgram and most of those reflecting on the meaning of his pioneering work. when consociates conspire to both legitimate orders from on high and to provide exemplars of what those orders demand. that anyone placed in the proper situation is quite capable of behaving in harmful ways in response to the orders of legitimate authority. The Nazi orchestration of the holocaust as well as other examples of genocidal actions. “I was only following orders”. Not only is the world in which we live constituted out of elements that here and-and-now present (the consociate type for example). are required. The simplistic conclusion usually drawn from Milgram’s research may hold only under very narrowly defined conditions: that is. This reflects the banality of evil described by Arendt and others for whom evil is not something reserved for a few special villains. have concluded. all four types of dialogic partner. as he did. but is something we are all capable of performing under the right circumstances. are not puzzling nor surprising nor restricted to evil people: we all could become good Nazis. Much the same can be concluded about the dynamics of obedience to authority. Doing harm to others or doing no harm derive from a world constituted and shaped by much more than person’s . In fact. that is shadows from the past and harbingers of the future. in harmony and mutual reinforcement. has become the all too familiar phrase employed to excuse horrible deeds done to one’s fellow humans. including the majority of popular. but importantly out of elements that are neither here nor now.
not because they remained rooted in the immediately present situation but rather because they conversed with an enlarged array of partners. The larger culture must encourage compliance to authority and beliefs that support such compliance.21 consociates. The citizens of Le Chambon saved thousands of their fellow citizens in defiance of both German and French orders and in potentially great danger to themselves. extending well beyond the here-and-now. carried by the predecessors. Only if we fail to take cognizance of the enlarged array of dialogic partners to which people may and do hold their conversations. Those voices are insufficient to provide the guides to good. The question then is how to help people listen to voices coming to them from beyond the present. only insofar as we define “the situation of evil” in terms of the immediately present persons –the consociate category that continues to dominate social psychological understanding—we miss the far more significant points about obedience and resistance. The lesson to be learned from this excursion into the typology of dialogic partners is that far from being banal. . as well as those encouraging attention to the future successors benefiting from harsh action taken now. let alone “doing no harm” to others. evil and good derive from a much larger arena of dialogue. must all line up in concert to permit evil to be done. Doing harm to others or avoiding harm both call for a much expanded understanding of humankind. The voices of heritage and tradition.