The role of social influence processes in social change

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The special role of minority influence:

Real life example - African-American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s

  • Drawing Attention: use of social proof-  in the 1950s black seperation applied to all parts of America. There were black neighbourhoods and, in some of the southern states, there were exclusively white restaurants and schools. The civil rights marches drew attention to the situation by providing social proof of the issue.
  • Consistency: there were many marches and many people took part. even though they were a minority of the American population, the civil rights activists displayed consistency of message and intent
  • Deeper Processing: This attention meant that many people who would have origionally simply accepted the status quo would stop and think of the injustice of the system
  • The Augmentation Principle: there were a number of incidents where people risked their lives. For example the `freedom riders` were a group of mmixed race individuals who rode the white buses in the south to challenge the fact that black people still had to use seperate buses. Many of these riders were attacked and there were incidents of mob violence
  • The Snowball Effect: Civil rights activists like Martin Luther King continued to press for changes that gradually got the attention of the US government. The US Civil Rights Act was passed prohibitin discrimination and showing that a change had occured from a minority to a majority support for civil rights
  • Social Cryptomnesia: (people have a memory that change has occured but don`t remmeber how it happened) - there is no doubt that change has occured and the south…


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