Questioning the banality of evil

S. Alexander Haslam, Stephen D. Reicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a widespread consensus amongst psychologists that tyranny triumphs either because ordinary people blindly follow orders or else because they mindlessly conform to powerful roles. However, recent evidence concerning historical events challenges these views. In particular, studies of the Nazi regime reveal that its functionaries engaged actively and creatively with their tasks.

Re-examination of classic social psychological, studies points to the same dynamics at work, This article summarises these developments and Lays out the case for an updated social psychology of tyranny that explains both the influence of tyrannical leaders and the active contributions of their followers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-19
Number of pages4
JournalPsychologist
Volume21
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • BBC PRISON
  • TYRANNY
  • PSYCHOLOGY
  • DYNAMICS

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