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The resistance experiments: Morality, authority and obedience in Stanley Milgram's account

Kaposi, Dávid (2017). The resistance experiments: Morality, authority and obedience in Stanley Milgram's account. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour (Early Access).

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12137
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Abstract

The paper seeks to re‐conceptualize Stanley Milgram's (in)famous experiments on willing obedience by drawing solely on Milgram's own contemporary account. It identifies a substantial incongruence between the findings Milgram presented (i.e., his description of the experiments) and the meaning he imputed to them (i.e., his interpretation of the exper iments). It argues that instead of operationalizing the concepts he claimed to operationalize – legitimate authority, embodied morality and willing obedience –, Milgram's description suggests that the operative forces in the experiments were an illegitimate authority and acts which in effect collude with that authority. As a result, the paper concludes that what the experimental findings represented was not so much obedience out of choice, but out of coercion. Thus, the paper seeks to redirect the conceptual‐moral focus of the findings from the participants who “shockingly” obeyed to those who managed to resist the coercive force of the total experimental situation.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISSN: 1468-5914
Keywords: authority; disobedience; freedom; Milgram experiments; morality; obedience
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 49312
Depositing User: David Kaposi
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 11:06
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2017 08:17
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/49312
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