Institutional aggression

Institutional aggression within groups - commentary

institutional aggression between groups - commentary

synoptic links

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AO1: Instituional Aggression within groups

  • Interpersonal factors- the importation model- Irwin and Cressey 1962 claim that prisoners bring their own social histories and traits with them into prison. they argue that prisoners are not blank slates and that many normative systems developed on the outside would be imported into prison.
  • Situational factors- the deprivation model- Paterline and Peterson 1999 afrgues that prisoner aggression is the product of stressful and oppressive conditions. e.g. Hodgkinson et al., 1985 found that trainee nurses are more likely to suffer violent assault than experienced nurses. Davis and Burgess found similar results in the prison setting.
  • Hazing- insitutionalised bullying based on initiation into a group. Allan and Madden 2008 conducted a study of over 11,000 US students involved in clubs and teams and revealed that over half had experienced hazing.
  • Why does it happen?- research has found that aggression is the product of situational forces and cultural notions of mostly male behaviour and 'toughness'.(Zimbardo's prison experiment).(Newer found that out of 60 reported deaths due to hazing, only three have been women).
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AO2: instituional aggression within groups

  • The importation model- to evaluate, Harer and Steffensmier 2006 supports the model in terms of individual factors. they collcted data from 58 US prisons. black inmates= significantly higher rates of violent behaviour, lower rates of alcohol/ drug-related misconduct than white inmates. these patterns parrallel racial differences in these behaviours, supporting the model.
  • The deprivation model- evidence to support claim that peer violence is used to relieve deprivation from institutions such as prison- McCorkle et al., 1995 found that overcrowding, lack of privacy and the lack of meaningful activity all significantly influence peer violence. however, research in psychiatric institutions is not consistent with this. Ninja et al.,1999 found that increased personal space failed to decrease the level of violence among patients.
  • Hazing, research support- McCorkle 1992 found that in prisons, the domination of the weak was essential to maintaining status, with passive behaviour being percieved as weakness or vunerability.
  • Problems of definition- what is and what is not considered aggressive behaviour. survey of US students, 1/5 reported experienced behaviours that met researchers definition of hazing,1/20 regarded themselves as having experienced hazing.
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AO1: Institutional aggression between groups

  • Genocide- Staub outlines 5 stages in the process of genocide that can escalate into victimisation of target group.(murder of 6million Jews by Nazi's in WW2 & murder of 800,000 Tutsi's by Hutu extremists in Rwanda 1994)- 1)difficult social conditions, leading to...2)scapegoating less powerful group, leading to...3)negative evaluation and dehumanisationof the target group, leading to...4)moral values and rules becoming inapplicable, and then killing begins.5)the passivity of bystanders enhances the process.
  • Dehumanisation- involves the removal of moral restraints against killing other humans.e.g. in Rwandan genocide Hutu controlled 'hate' radio encouraged Hutu listeners to murder their Tutsi neighbours by referring to them as 'cockroaches'.
  • Obedience to authority- Milgram beleived that situational pressures could coerce people into destructive obedience to authority regardless of any personal moral.
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AO2: Institutional aggression between groups

  • The importance of bystanders- to evaluate, Stuabs model emphasises importance of bystander intervention in preventing genocide. doing nothing it appears, merely allows killing to continue. and may escalate it by signalling consent. however, bystander intervention does not necessarily end institutional aggression. intervention can shorten conflict but may also hasten perpetrators to step up their genocidal policy within that period of time.(Rwandan genocide - 8,000 deaths per day).
  • Dehumanisation- Obrien 2003 claims that dehumanisation may explain violence against immigrants, seen by some as 'polluting threats to the social order'. Esses et al.,2008 has demonstarted that individuals high in social dominance orientation have a tendancy to dehumanise outgroup members.(refugess, asylum seekers).
  • Obedience to authority- Mandel 1998 challenges Milgram's claim. he argues that his acount is monocausal and does not match historical record. Goldhagen 1996 suggests that the main causal factor in Holocaust was a form of anti-semitism.
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AO3: Synoptic links

  • Problems of investigation- the study of institutionalised aggression creates problems for the researcher. in some studies of hazing, victims frequently reject researchers definitions of such behaviours as being aggressively motivated.
  • Similarly, although dehumanisation appears to be a common human phenomenon, it is difficult to investigate empirically. Haslam 2006 suggests that part of thi problem is that it is difficult to define what is and what is not dehumanising behaviour.
  • An additional problem for researchers is that there are significant ethical issues in studying people who have been subjected to dehumanising violence.
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