Social Change: Minority influence

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minority influence

Social change occurs when a society as a whole adopts a new belief or way of behaving which then ecomes widely accepted as the 'norm'. Research into social influence does not just tell us how individuals change their beliefs and behaviours, but also how whole societyies might change.

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Moscovici suggests that if an indivuidual is exposed to a persuasive argument under certain conditions they may change their own views to match those of the minority. Moscovic referred to this process as 'conversion', a necessary prerequisite for social change.

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Drawing attention to an issue: necessary for socia

Being exposed to the views of majority draws our attention to the issues they're addressing.

If their views are different to te ones that hte majority currently hold then this creates a ___ that we are motivated to reduce.

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The role of conflict:

Doesn't necessarily result in a move towards the minoriy position but it does mean that we think more deeply about the issues being issues being challenged. For example, we may be presented with a leaflet condemning animal testing in the cosmetic industry. This leaflet may cause us to think more carefully about animal testing and our current behaviour in supporting the cosmetic industry by buying their products.

>cruelty free products

>behaviour spreads

>more opinion change for minority

>loosens the pressure to conform to the majority.

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Minorities are more influential when they present their arguments consistently.

Wood et al 1994, carried out a meta analysis of 97 studies on minority influence and found that the minority who were percieved as consistent were particularly influential.

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Augmentation principle

If there are risks involved in expressing a certain view then that view when puyt forward is taken more seriously.

Willing to suffer> more impact

More likely to influence toehrs

>may risk imprisonment OR DEATH

> e.g. struggles of Polish trade or communism.

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Does Minority Influence lead to social change?YES

Suffragette social movement began in 1903 and resulted in women being given the vote in 1918. Their success is down to the principles of minority influence.

DRAWING ATTENTION TO AN ISSUE: Sufragettes used a variety of educational political and occasionally militant tacttics to draw attention to the fact that women were denied the same rights as men.

ROLE OF CONFLICT:Having been exposed to the views of the suffragettes, many of the majority group would then experience b/c of the suffragettes were advocting something quite different to the way things were run. Although some dismissed the suffragettes as troublemakers, others took their side.

CONSISTENCY: Sufragettes consistenlty expressing their views regardless of others' views, the fight continued for fifteen years, and protests continued in jail.

Augmentation principle:

Sufragettes wiling to suffer to make theirpoint meant they were taken more seriously.

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Does Minority Influence lead to social change? NO:

tHE TENDENCY TO GO ALIONG WITH THE CROWD AND SIMPLY MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO IS PERHAPS WHY SOCIAL CHANGE HAPPENS SO SLOWLY. Minorities face the problem of being in a disadvantage position of not only lacking social power butalso being seen as different or deviant in the eyees of the majority. Majority group memebers often tend to avoid agreeing witha deviant minority simply because they do not want to be viewed as deviant themselves. The influence of a minority therefore, is frequently more latent, i.e, it creates a potential for change rather than the actual change.

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