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Matthew Hornsey on Majorities - Dictionary of Arguments

Haslam I 87
Majority/Minority/Hornsey/Jetten: There is a tacit implication in many of [the] experiments that those insubordinate subjects who are outside the hypothesis-confirming majority are a nuisance. (Jahoda 1959(1): 99; see also Moscovici, 1976(2)). >Conformity/Asch.
Indeed, as Asch showed, resistance is just as common in group life as is conformity (Haslam and Reicher, 2007(3); Reicher and Haslam, 2006(4)). (…) this point is also clear when we look around us and tally both acts of conformity and resistance in daily life. Both occur and dissent is just as much part of daily life as conformity.
Minority: What is more, we often like and identify with people who are able to withstand conformity pressures and rebel – in particular when they do not go along with a majority that is obviously wrong or misguided.
HornseyVsTradition: When we focus on conformity instead of dissent (>Conformity/psychological theories), we also focus on understanding uniformity instead of difference, and on passive responding rather than active behaviour by group members. As a result, theorizing about dissent and the willingness to stand out is quite underdeveloped and this has led to a failure to understand the way in which groups (and society more broadly) change (see Turner, 2006)(5). Indeed, social change often has its roots in one individual (or a group of people) questioning whether the majority’s view of reality is really correct and standing firm in their belief that it is not.

1, Jahoda, M. (1959) ‘Conformity and independence’, Human Relations, 12: 99–120.
2. Moscovici, S. (1976) Social Influence and Social Change. New York: Academic Press.
3. Haslam, S.A. and Reicher, S.D. (2007) ‘Beyond the banality of evil: Three dynamics of an interactionist social psychology of tyranny’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33: 615–22.
4. Reicher, S.D. and Haslam, S.A. (2006) ‘Rethinking the psychology of tyranny: The BBC Prison Study’, British Journal of Social Psychology, 45: 1–40.
5. Turner, J.C. (2006) ‘Tyranny, freedom and social structure: Escaping our theoretical prisons’, British Journal of Social Psychology, 45: 41–6.

Matthew J. Hornsey and Jolanda Jetten, “Conformity. Revisiting Asch’s line-judgment studies”, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Hornsey, Matthew
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-09-25
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