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163 Seiten, Note: Distinction
CHAPTER ONE : INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER TWO : THE CONCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL CONTROL
Views of the Human Condition
Methods of Social Control: Physical vs. Ideological Control
Psychological and Political Perspectives of Social Control
Political Science Accounts
Sociological Accounts: The Historical Evolution of Social Control
de Tocqueville and Park
Durkheim, Mead, and Freud
Parsons and LaPiere
Where does this Historical Evolution Leave the Concept of Social Control?
Theoretical and Methodological Issues
Theoretical Issues: Conceptual Problems
Methodological Issues: Naturalistic vs. Normative Traditions
Concepts Closely Linked with Social Control
CHAPTER THREE : THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MODEL
Describing the Framework
Defining the Variables that Operate in this Model
The Relationship between the Government and Interest Groups
The Role of Public Opinion in the Foreign Policymaking Process
Theoretical Approaches to the Relationship between Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Factors Impacting the Role of Public Opinion in the Foreign Policymaking Process
Public Opinion Research
Public Opinion Formation and the Role of the Mass Media
Organizing Information in the Process of Forming Opinions
Information, Attitudes, and Opinions
Sources of Influence on Information Gathering and Attitude Formation
Changing Public Opinion via the Mass Media
The Capacity for the Government and Interest Groups to Influence the Content of the Mass Media
Agenda-Setting Function of the Mass Media
The Use of Language as a Tool of Persuasion
Limits to Press Freedom: The Implementation of Laws
Limits to Press Freedom: Consolidation of Ownership
Limits to Press Freedom: Economic and Political Restraints
Objectivity: An Impediment to the Free Flow of Information?
CHAPTER FOUR : TWO CASE STUDIES: THE BABY INCUBATOR STORY AND
THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION STORY
CASE I : THE BABY INCUBATOR STORY
Context of 1991 War with Iraq
Hussein’s Violations of Human Rights
Background to Kuwait
The Gulf War
The Baby Incubator Story: How the US Sold War with Iraq to the American Public
The Proliferation of the Baby Incubator Story in the American Mass Media
The Development of Public Opinion Leading up to War with Iraq
Polls from The Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press
Polls from the Mass Media
The Baby Incubator Story is Exposed
Was the Baby Incubator Story Successful in Garnering Support for War?
CASE II : THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION STORY
September 11th and Bush’s War on Terror
Target #1 in the War on Terror: Afghanistan
Target #2 in the War on Terror: Iraq
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Story: How the US Sold War with Iraq to the American Public
Proliferation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Story in the American Mass Media
The Development of Public Opinion Leading up to War with Iraq
Polls from the Mass Media: The Weapons of Mass Destruction Story
Polls from the Mass Media: Support for War
Polls from The Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Story is Exposed
Examining the Nuclear Weapons Threat
Examining the Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat
Allegations by US Officials, Bush’s Eventual Admission, and
Was the Weapons of Mass Destruction Story Successful in Garnering Support for War?
CHAPTER FIVE : CONCLUSION
The purpose of this thesis is to discover the extent to which governments possess the capacity to influence public opinion. I argue that the United States government initiated and directed a social control campaign during both the 1991 and 2003 wars with Iraq in order to mobilize public opinion in support of their foreign policy objectives. I claim that the United States government, in conjunction with powerful interest groups, possesses the capacity to influence the content of the mass media in order to disseminate and promote justifications for war that contain emotion-provoking elements. During both wars, the justifications presented to the American public produced a negative emotional response to Saddam Hussein and in the process created a foreign threat that appeared to be immediate. I conclude that these social control campaigns restricted the American public’s access to reliable information, thereby obstructing their ability to participate in their nation’s political process.
KEYWORDS: social control, public opinion, foreign policy, mass media, ideology, power, hegemony, democracy, war, military action, United States, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, baby incubator story, Nayirah
I must first thank my supervisor, Jerry White, for taking time to help me these past few months since his guidance and direction was vital to the success of this thesis. I would also like to thank my mother, Liz, and father, Rocky, for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout my academic career and especially during the writing of this thesis.
I clearly remember the night that I thought the world might end. I had accompanied my parents and my older brother to an open house for a local high school and we were walking across the slowly emptying parking lot to return to our vehicle on our way back home. While the rest of my family was discussing the new science program they had just been introduced to, I was privately crossing my fingers and wishing that the world would live to see another day. I was 10 years old and it was the night of January 14, 1991, the day before the United Nations deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Through reports given by the mass media I had been led to believe that Saddam Hussein was considering detonating his weapons of mass destruction. If he did, nuclear war would likely break out and all of humanity would certainly perish. I was so terrified. Granted I was only 10 years old and any reports from the mass media might have been amplified by my own imagination, but I was completely confident that I understood the situation and I was never tempted to consider locating alternative media sources to gather more information. I had not executed the slightest critical evaluation of the information offered by the mass media, possibly due in part to the perceived seriousness of the crisis at hand and my young age, yet I was enormously impacted emotionally. That night I wrote the following entry into my diary: “Tomorrow at midnight is the deadline for Sudam Husane (sic) to leave Quwait (sic)! Sudam might blow-up the whole world!! All the troops are getting ready to go to war!! Somewhere I feel sunshine, somewhere nice. I want to live past 10 years old!!” While I was clearly distressed about the events taking place, I did not consider for an instant the validity of the information I had received nor whether military intervention was an acceptable solution. Thus, I fully supported whatever actions the United States and its allies wished to take since the emotive component of the stories I had consumed through the mass media had convinced me that any and all means of stopping Hussein were absolutely necessary.
More than a decade has passed and the United States has just finished a second war with Iraq. Decisions that result in large military operations usually involve large casualty rates and serious consequences in terms of living conditions for the population of the occupied country. If the public is to have the capacity to influence these foreign policy decisions, the medium through which the public gains information about foreign affairs must be investigated and understood. The majority of Americans acquire their information from the mass media, which is the basis for the development of attitudes and subsequent opinions. Public opinion polls provide an expression for these opinions in the form of support for or against military action. Since governments require some measure of support in the form of public opinion when considering major foreign policy initiatives, it is critical that we consider whether governments possess the capacity to utilize techniques of social control in order to manufacture public opinion. The goal of such an investigation is to ensure that the public’s capacity to influence and participate democratically in their nation’s decision-making process is not impaired.
In order to formulate my thesis, I began examining the justifications for war that were presented to the American public via the mass media during the 1991 and 2003 wars with Iraq. From this investigation I developed the hypothesis that the US government initiated and directed a ‘social control campaign’ wherein techniques of social control were utilized to manufacture public opinion in support of US foreign policy objectives. Working in conjunction with powerful interest groups in society, I claim that the US government possesses the capacity to influence the mass media industry in order to disseminate and promote justifications for war that contain emotion-provoking elements. During both wars with Iraq, I argue that justifications presented to the public produced a negative emotional response to Saddam Hussein and in the process created a foreign threat that appeared to be immediate. This thesis applies my argument to two case studies: the baby incubator story from the first war and the weapons of mass destruction story from the second. I argue that both justifications for war were pivotal in the process of influencing public opinion even though each story was later exposed as a fabrication. My argument theorizes that these fabricated stories were intentionally promoted to the American public in order to garner public support for war with Iraq and ultimately secure the economic and political interests of both the US government and powerful societal interest groups.
Chapter two is a theoretical exploration of the concept of social control. Since this concept provides the foundation for my argument, it is imperative to examine its theoretical development from the perspective of various disciplines. This chapter considers the contributions from non-sociological disciplines, including psychology and political science, as well as the historical evolution of the concept from a sociological perspective. In addition, the concepts of power, ideology, hegemony, and language are further developed in order to provide a background from which my arguments stem.
Chapter three outlines the framework that I developed in the construction of my argument. After defining each variable that is represented in the framework, this chapter analyzes the relationship between the government and interest groups in society, the role of public opinion in the foreign policymaking process, the role of the mass media in the formation of public opinion, and the influence of the government and interest groups on the mass media industry.
Chapter four is divided into two sections: the first war with Iraq in 1991 and the second war with Iraq in 2003. This chapter employs the framework from chapter three in an exploration of two case studies, the baby incubator story and the weapons of mass destruction story, both of which were offered as justifications for war with Iraq to the American public. Each section provides a background to each war, followed by a discussion of the dominant story that was used in the manufacture of public opinion. An examination of newspaper articles offers an assessment of the portrayal of each story in the American mass media. Next, an analysis of the development of public opinion in support of war is presented. This is accomplished by a study of public opinion polls in an attempt to corroborate my argument that an association exists between the proliferation of the story in the mass media and the development of public opinion in support of war. Both sections conclude that there are indications that public support for foreign policy decisions was at least in part generated through the proliferation of these stories. Furthermore, I conclude that there is support for the hypothesis that these stories provoked emotions that were geared to produce an attitude, and ultimately an opinion, that the means the government was willing to take to stop Hussein were necessary and morally justified. While this thesis provides indications that the framework has some explanatory power it does not establish any cause and effect relationships.
The foundations for the propositions put forward in this thesis involve issues related to social control and opinion development which I examine in the next chapter.
This chapter examines the concept of social control that underlies the argument presented in this thesis, namely that the US government promotes stories as justifications for military operations with the intention of achieving foreign policy objectives. Influenced by the US government, the American mass media repeatedly offers these stories to the public without an accompanying critical analysis of their validity. If the US government has the capacity to utilize techniques of social control in the process of spreading stories that appeal to the public’s emotions, thereby influencing the formation of public opinion, the American public’s ability to participate in their nation’s political system is obstructed since the majority of Americans obtain their information regarding foreign affairs through mainstream mass media sources. To ensure that the political and economic interests of the US government and powerful interest groups are not disrupted, a social control campaign is initiated in order to direct the manufacture of public opinion in support of military operations that achieve US foreign policy objectives.
The use of social control techniques for the mobilization of public opinion in support of war in liberal democratic societies is a form of social control that I consider to be illegitimate. Nevertheless, legitimate forms of social control do exist and in fact are essential for humans to live together in civil society. Social control techniques that are intended to maintain social order enable collective life by ensuring, for instance, that each member of society is aware of general laws that exist to prevent widespread crime that would otherwise entirely disrupt social life if the population had not been socialized to realize that serious consequences result from deviant behavior. While the public may not be aware of every law and the state apparatuses that catch and punish deviants are not always flawless nor effective, the success of social control techniques that transmit rules and associated penalties for disobeying them is responsible for the continued existence of civil society.
This chapter reviews the concept of social control from the perspectives of psychology and political science before considering sociological contributions that often conform to the classical view of social control. The classical view narrowly conceptualizes social control in terms of its legitimate forms, concentrating on the maintenance of social order via the transmission of norms. I contend that the illegitimate forms of social control, which are the focus of this thesis, must also be taken into consideration by embracing a wider conceptualization within sociology that includes input from academics such as Marx and Baldus. The first section of this chapter consults Hobbes and Rousseau to demonstrate why civil society requires legitimate techniques of social control in order to maintain social order. While each approaches these issues from different perspectives, both conclude that social control is an indispensable attribute of civil society that facilitates collective living. Following this section is a brief consideration of the two broad categories of social control, physical coercion and ideological control, in order to clarify the general means through which social control is utilized in the maintenance of civil societies.
The next step involves a review of non-sociological accounts of social control. Examining how the disciplines of psychology and political science have assessed methods of controlling human behavior and influencing attitudes provides a background for the potential means through which social control can be utilized in the manufacture of public opinion. Following this account is a historical investigation of the conceptual development of social control from a sociological perspective. The contributions of many academics are considered in this analysis, beginning with Marx and concluding with Baldus. In addition, a summary is provided to assess where this historical evolution has left the concept of social control today. This section is followed by a consideration of the various theoretical and methodological issues that plague the concept of social control.
The final section explores concepts closely linked with the use of social control that are vital to an understanding of the means through which social control is employed. Particularly critical to this thesis is the concept of power, which is involved in the process of influencing the content of the mass media and plays a large role in the hierarchical structure of capitalist society that determines the position of both the government and powerful interest groups, enabling a capacity to initiate and direct a social control campaign to secure their interests. Ideology is also essential since this concept exemplifies the ways in which the general public can be persuaded to believe a position through the framing of a story in a particular light. In addition, ideological control is effective in its ability to restrict critical analysis since the ideological portrayal of a story insinuates that no alternative explanations exist, or that if they do they should be met with skepticism and distrust. Another concept closely related to ideology is hegemony, which facilitates the attainment of spontaneous consent from the general public in support of ideologies promoted by those in a position of power. In the process, the general public accepts the conditions of their society and the accompanying power structure based on ideological justifications that are promoted by those in a position to benefit from the continuation of these structures. Finally, language is essential to techniques of social control since the use of particular words can achieve an emotional appeal while the use of doublethink can ideologically persuade individuals to accept a particular perspective, thereby influencing attitudes and manufacturing public opinion. While these concepts are incorporated in the previous sections of this chapter, this analysis provides a more detailed account of their role in the use of social control.
The summary section at the end of this chapter will highlight the conceptions of social control that are most relevant to this thesis. The ideas and arguments gained from the insights of all disciplines discussed in this chapter will be reflected in the framework presented in chapter three and the two case studies in chapter four that are offered in support of that framework.
Before exploring the concept of social control, it is constructive to articulate the views of human nature and society that consider social control an essential partner of social life. Through a brief discussion of the arguments given by Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, I will demonstrate the critical link between social order and social control. It will become apparent that each is an essential element of human societal life. Just as individuals in North American societies have become dependent upon the order instilled into the extensive network of roads and highways, in order to use them at one’s leisure without fear of constant collision with other drivers, the whole of human social life is dependent upon order, achieved through some measure of control.
Writing in the 17th Century, before Rousseau’s time, Hobbes observed that human beings were in a constant state of potential violence against one another before the development of civil society. Since humans are naturally equal, they all retain a “mutual will of hurting” one another (Hobbes 1972:113). Thus, since humans are naturally violent towards one another, societies arise out of a ‘mutual fear’ of each other (Hobbes 1972). Hobbes considers various arguments that demonstrate how humans come into conflict, ending in violence. For example, according to Hobbes (1972) the most common reason for one human to hurt another results from the fact that “many men at the same time have an appetite to the same thing; which yet very often they can neither enjoy in common, nor yet divide it; whence it follows that the strongest must have it, and who is strongest must be decided by the sword” (p. 115). Due to this particular reason and many other points of potential conflict that arise in everyday life, “the natural state of men, before they entered into society, was a mere war” (Hobbes 1972:118).
To rid ourselves of our ‘mutual fear,’ Hobbes argues that we join our fellow man so that war need not be against every man. However, in order to achieve the social order that would allow for a restraint of violence against our fellow man, social control must be ascertained in some manner. Hobbes (1972) identifies two types of social control:
Fellows are gotten either by constraint, or by consent; by constraint when after fight the conqueror makes the conquered serve him, either through fear of death, or by laying fetters on him; by consent, when men enter into society to help each other, both parties consenting without any constraint. (P. 119)
While Hobbes acknowledged that some societies achieved social order by oppressive means of social control, the societies that could envision life without fear of violence achieved social order by means of consent, which implies a form of social control that is less physically punitive.
With the development of civil society, laws are created that allow members of that society to exist without a ‘mutual fear’ of one another, to strive for peace. While all humans were considered equal before civil society, now each member cannot have equal access to all things in order to prevent conflicts and perpetual fear. Hobbes (1972) considers this a natural law: “that the right of all men to all things ought not to be retained; but that some certain rights ought to be transferred or relinquished” (p. 123).
Therefore, the Hobbesian viewpoint proposes that if humans are to escape chaos, fear, and violence, they must leave their natural state and consciously enter a social state wherein civil society may exist through the use of social control to maintain social order. Humans strive for civil society not out of a natural impulse but out of a desire to ‘honor or profit from it’, to achieve order and subsequently subject individuals to measures of social control in order for one to possess, for instance, a material object without fear of another taking it by illegitimate force.
In reaction to Hobbes, Rousseau painted a picture of humanity that was not as bleak and cynical as the Hobbesian perspective; instead, he presented a positive depiction of the human condition. Still, both writers appear to regard humans as primarily self-interested creatures, and both also suggest that conditions in the natural environment precede the emergence of the social environment; hence, self-interest is not the only variable that directs human behavior. However, a major point of departure between Hobbes and Rousseau concerns the natural state of humanity.
In contrast to Hobbes, Rousseau does not believe that humans are naturally violent towards one another. According to Rousseau, “Men, from the mere fact that, while they are living in their primitive independence, they have no mutual relations stable enough to constitute either the state of peace or the state of war, cannot be naturally enemies” (1955:8). While Hobbes argued that humans were in a perpetual state of war before the emergence of civil society, Rousseau argued that humans could not be in a state of war without first becoming citizens and only then becoming ‘accidental’ soldiers for a particular State, fighting against soldiers of another State (Rousseau 1955). Furthermore, Rousseau did not necessarily agree that civil society should be the goal of humanity, embracing ideas such as justice, society, mutual defense, or laws. In fact, Rousseau argued that these ideas are “only lures invented by clever political thinkers or cowardly flatterers in order to deceive the simple-minded” (Rousseau 1994:17). Thus, “the pure state of nature is the one above all others where men would be the least wicked, the happiest, and the most numerous on earth” (Rousseau 1994:17). This argument is in direct opposition to Hobbes who viewed the pure state of nature as the most wicked and most violent since there is no mechanism to control humanity’s violent tendencies.
Nevertheless, Rousseau (1955) did admit that civil society carried with it potential benefits, such as the ability to provide an environment wherein the moral potential of man could develop. While Rousseau (1955) was not the originator of the doctrine of the social contract, he utilized this concept to demonstrate how human beings come to an agreement in order to move from the pure state of nature to civil society wherein humans represent a ‘collective moral person.’ In this sense, Rousseau depicted a ‘general will’ that was accepted through a social contract and allowed humans to live within the realms of a society. Recognizing that obstacles in the face of survival could be more easily managed as a group, humans entered into a social contract by which they submitted to the supreme command of the general will (Gough 1957).
Therefore, Rousseau is also describing a form of social control that is necessary for social order, which presupposes social life. This type of social control, the social contract, subjugates private interests for public interests, which are claimed to be in the interest of the whole even if a particular member does not immediately believe them to be. For example, as Gough (1957) describes, “it seems that Rousseau was struggling to express the idea of a will for our own real interest, which may conflict with what we actually will at any particular moment. ‘Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is’” (p. 173). Remaining optimistic, Rousseau argues that a civil society requires a government that will express the general will:
… if the government is constituted as it ought to be, and if it follows the principles it ought to have, its first concern in the public economy or administration will therefore be to attend constantly to the execution of the general will, which is simultaneously the People’s right and the source of its happiness. All decisions of that will are called law, and consequently the first duty of leaders is to attend to the observation of laws. (Rousseau 1994:23)
Thus, Rousseau’s viewpoint considers humans to be naturally non-violent before the emergence of civil society. However, to facilitate the social order upon which society rests, humans require a social contract as an instrument of social control, surrendering their will to those in power who will act on the general will.
Therefore, both Hobbes and Rousseau contemplated the problem of obtaining order in relation to civil society and both described legitimate instruments of social control. Considering the position that both Hobbes and Rousseau ultimately occupy, it is clear that legitimate social control is an indispensable attribute of human civil societies. Attaining social order combats the utter chaos and fear that would otherwise exist among humans living collectively, but the sacrifice is some form of social control. However, what is not clear is the degree to which social control must be present in order for humans to live with one another and the extent to which it should intervene in human lives. While Hobbes and Rousseau refer to social control as a device to achieve social order, the social control campaign administered by the US government in order to secure foreign policy objectives goes beyond that which is essential for the maintenance of civil society and is therefore considered illegitimate.
Now that it is evident that legitimate social control is necessary for civil society, I will consider the two general means by which social control is utilized to maintain social order. Hobbes recognized both physical coercion and ideological control, but used the terms constraint and consent instead.
George Orwell’s (1990) account of an alternate vision of society provides an intriguing portrait of humanity through which one might question one’s own society’s use of social control. Orwell’s compelling depiction presents the extremes of social control that surpass examples of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia, both of which represent, to Canada and the United States, vivid images of societies that have gone terribly wrong. In 1984, Orwell’s main character, Winston Smith, is subjected to various methods of control, some social, some physical, and some psychological, ranging from propaganda to the falsification of historical records to the constant threat and eventual use of intense physical force. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World also provides us with a view of a society that is under the influence of tremendous measures of social control, albeit qualitatively different from Orwell’s portrayals. Nevertheless, both of these well-known novels reflect upon human society and the ways in which powerful groups can utilize their position within the social hierarchy to gain control over those who are less powerful.
While 1984 and Brave New World commented on a variety of methods and instruments of social control, physical force has a limited role in today’s democratic system. In a democracy, “the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force” but must instead be implanted “by more subtle means” (Chomsky 1989:48). However, a totalitarian state does not deny the use of force as a primary tool of social control since this mentality maintains that, “It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern” (Chomsky 1989:48). On the other hand, a democratic state attempts to eradicate the threat at its source: independent thought (Chomsky 1989).
In comparison to physical coercion, ideological persuasion is much more difficult to break away from once established since it is comparably much “slower, more subtle, [and] less easily resisted” (Allahar 1986:620). Individuals under ideological control are less likely to be aware of their subordinate status, less likely to protest, and less likely to question their controller than those under physical control (Allahar 1986). Also, while legitimacy remains intact for the ideological controller, it escapes the physical controller (Allahar 1986). Consequently, ideological control is much more effective than physical control.
I will now turn to disciplines in the social sciences apart from sociology to develop a broader understanding of social control. It is useful to consider these approaches before examining the conceptual development of social control from a sociological perspective in order to establish a greater awareness of the multiple pathways that encompass techniques of social control. From a psychological perspective, “Behavior control is the ability to get someone to do one’s bidding” (London 1969:3). As such, it is essential to explore the techniques of behavior control as well as those techniques that influence attitudes and the subsequent formation of opinions in order to comprehend the full extent of social control. While each method of social control might be used for legitimate or illegitimate functions, recall that any method employed with the intention of controlling behaviors or attitudes without directly attempting to contribute to the maintenance of social order for the management of civil society can be considered illegitimate. Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are discussed in relation to psychology’s contribution to social control before political science’s appeals to logic and emotion are considered.
Within the disciplines of psychology and social psychology, the general process describing the formation of attitudes in the learning of behavior is called conditioning. Put simply, this process is defined as “a learning association between two things which consequently affects one’s actions” (Winn 1983:54). Thus, this category of behavior goes beyond behavior that is a result of an automatic response, entering the realm of behavior that is learned. For instance, an automatic response could consist of the sudden lifting of one’s foot after stepping on a sharp piece of glass.
Attitudes and behaviors that are learned often cover more aspects of our everyday lives than most realize. Conditioning plays a role in our education system and frequently takes place while we watch or read advertisements. In fact, selected information transmission is one of the most important methods employed by individuals to manipulate others (London 1969). By selectively providing information to individuals or groups, the information that is omitted or the opposing viewpoints that are ignored are not transmitted. Thus, the audience is under the control of the educator because the information transmission is selective and it often appears as though no alternate interpretations exist. For instance, if elementary school students are taught that Columbus was the first to discover America and that he encountered savages upon arrival, students are not likely to consider that the savages may have only appeared as savages because of Columbus’ lack of experience with foreign cultures and peoples. Similarly,
it was not propaganda to teach or spread the pre-Copernican picture of the solar system when it was a generally accepted theory prevalent at the time, but it certainly was propaganda when an attempt was made to censor the new theory as it arose or to conceal the fact that an alternative one existed. (Brown 1963:20)
In a parallel vein, the advertising industry utilizes a generally accepted method of control wherein acquisitive behavior is influenced in circumstances when consumers have a choice in terms of a particular product.
Classical Conditioning. Ivan Pavlov first described classical conditioning in 1903, demonstrating how one stimulus can be paired with another stimulus that normally evokes a reaction in order to predict an outcome. In his classic experiment a dog learned to salivate to the sound of a tuning fork without the accompanying stimulus of the presentation of food. Here the unconditioned stimulus was the food while the unconditioned response was the salivation to the food. Neither of these stimuli is considered conditioned since the dog’s salivation to the food was an automatic response. However, once the association between the tuning fork and the presentation of food was entrenched within the dog’s mind, the dog could be made to salivate solely upon hearing the tuning fork since the dog had been conditioned to learn that food should follow such a stimulus. Since no dog would salivate upon hearing a tuning fork without prior conditioning that such a stimulus would be followed by food, the tuning fork is considered the conditioned stimulus and the salivation upon hearing the fork is the conditioned response (Winn 1983). Essentially, classical conditioning grasps the concept that an individual can be conditioned to expect an impending event based on a predictive signal.
Since research such as Pavlov’s has made us aware of the power of conditioning, behavior can essentially be shaped with the aid of this knowledge. The first level of conditioning, which involves an emotional response from the subject, regularly takes place in everyday life. For example, a child who was chased by a clown could become conditioned to fear clowns in general because the child mistook the clown’s actions for a negative experience and responded with fear. From the initial experience onward the child could potentially respond with fear to all clowns, regardless of whether or not they looked similar to the original clown or acted in a similar manner.
Semantic generalization refers to the second level of emotional conditioning. London (1969) explains that this level produces “conditioned responses to words when these responses have previously been made only to objects or to other words” (p. 87). While many studies have considered the impact of pairing a word with an aversive unconditioned stimulus, such as a shock or harsh noise, there have also been studies that have replaced the unconditioned stimulus with a word that is associated with a positive or negative meaning. Each language contains particular words or phrases that regularly elicit strong emotional reactions. By pairing such a stimulus with a neutral stimulus, or an alternate set of words or phrases that would not normally cause an emotional reaction, a strong reaction can eventually become a predictable outcome of the second stimulus without the requirement of pairing it with the first stimulus. Thus, if a particular leader of a country does not normally elicit an emotional response on the part of the audience hearing the news story that features the subject, key words or phrases that do normally elicit an emotional response can be paired with the subject in order to alter the audience’s attitudes and subsequent behavior. For example, by consistently pairing the subject of ‘Iraqi soldiers’ with the emotionally laden stimulus of ‘baby killers’ over a period of time, it is more likely that the audience will eventually have the same emotional response normally given to the term ‘baby killers’ when they hear the subject of ‘Iraqi soldiers’ in the news without any emotion-provoking stimuli nearby. This example illuminates the first case discussed in chapter four which focuses on the baby incubator story that was used as a justification for war with Iraq in 1991. In this case, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is the target of emotion-provoking stimuli by the baby incubator story.
A few studies have focused upon these conditioning possibilities. Research has shown that it is possible to condition a subject so that attitudes towards a particular country correspond to the positive or negative word that was paired with the country during the experiment. Research by Staats and Staats (1958) had subjects watch national names appear on a screen, after which the experimenter would orally state the unconditioned stimulus, consisting of a positive, negative, or neutral word, and ask the subject to repeat the word aloud. Specifically, two groups underwent the conditioning procedure of simultaneously watching national names on a screen and hearing words spoken by the experimenter that they were asked to repeat aloud. The subjects were told that the intention of the experiment was to study how both visual and auditory learning took place together. In reality, the experimenters were pairing two national names in particular, Swedish and Dutch, with words that contained evaluative meaning while all other national names were paired with words that contained no systematic meaning. After the conditioning procedure the subjects used a 7-point scale of pleasant to unpleasant to rate each national name. The subjects were also asked to indicate if the national name had been presented during the experiment and were tested on their recall of the spoken words. A post-experiment questionnaire subtly garnered information about whether or not the subjects had been aware of the true hypothesis of the experiment. A second experiment repeated the procedure but used names such as Bill and Tom as opposed to national names. Staats and Staats (1958) concluded from both experiments that “it was possible to condition the attitude component of the total meaning responses of US [unconditioned stimulus] words to socially significant verbal stimuli, without Ss’ [subjects’] awareness” (p. 39). Moreover, that which was conditioned was “an implicit attitudinal response which mediated the behavior of scoring the semantic differential scale” (Staats and Staats 1958:39). These results clearly imply that classical conditioning as a technique of social control is applicable to the study of attitude formation in the development of public opinion.
A more recent study by Kuykendall and Keating (1990) also exposed subjects to the pairing of an unconditioned stimulus with a particular country. During the conditioning procedure, each participant was subjected to the pairing of a particular country, such as Turkey, with negative words and another, such as Brazil, with positive words. Following the conditioning procedure, a questionnaire gathered information on the participants’ thoughts about the countries involved in the experiment. The goal of this experiment was to test “the idea that consistently pairing an attitude object with positive or negative words could colour subsequent thoughts and judgments about the object” (Kuykendall and Keating 1990:79). By extending the experiments of Staats and Staats (1958), Kuykendall and Keating (1990) were interested in demonstrating that “a specific component of attitudes, cognitive information, can be altered even when the bases for attitudes is devoid of such information” (p. 80). This was accomplished by the post-conditioning questionnaire that asked for responses concerning the economic conditions of the countries involved in the experiment. The experimenters found that a ‘template’ is created when an object is repeatedly associated with words that contain evaluative content and this template is used when subjects assess subsequent information about the object. This finding is important because the information involved in associating the evaluative words with the object did not have any relevance for the information required to make subsequent judgments about the object (Kuykendall and Keating 1990). Therefore, if the interests of the US government dictate that military action is necessary in a foreign theatre, the government can promote a story that associates the foreign country or leader with negative, emotive-provoking phrases in order to influence the development of a template in the minds of the American public that will be used to assess subsequent information about the subject, such as whether or not military action is necessary.
Similarly, many words found in every language have become, through the use of classical conditioning, able to evoke emotional reactions. In every human society love of country, of party, or of God and fear or contempt for minorities, religions, or strangers have been taught so that the connotations of each word is connected with the specific emotion stimulated in their use (London 1969). In addition, politicians and warmongers are equivalent in their use of techniques that evoke emotions on command within their targeted populations based upon “otherwise irrelevant verbal signals” (London 1969:88). When individuals are subjected to classical conditioning of this level, their behavior is capable of control since the emotion is aroused by a signal, which leaves the individuals without a rationale for the arrival of the emotion but with a commitment to the negative evaluation associated with the subject. Moreover, classical conditioning is even more important with respect to issues that involve foreign policy and countries that the average American citizen may not have a prior wealth of knowledge about since academics have argued that “classical conditioning – like other peripheral mechanisms of persuasion – is a more important determinant of attitude change when people possess little knowledge (i.e., familiarity) about the attitude object” (Eagly and Chaiken 1993:400).
Operant Conditioning. The second type of conditioning is nearly always described in introductory textbooks on psychology or social psychology in association with classical conditioning. Operant conditioning was initially explored by E. L. Thorndike in 1898 and B. F. Skinner continued to explore and experiment with this form of behavior control in his own research. This method of predicting behavior or influencing attitudes stresses the importance of rewards and punishments that exist after a particular behavior is exhibited or opinion expressed. In this way behavior can be shaped and controlled by careful consideration of the consequences that follow a particular behavior: by rewarding one’s behavior it is more likely that the behavior will be repeated in the future whereas punishing one’s behavior is more likely to lead to a weakening or suppression of the behavior. The same logic applies to the expression of a particular opinion.
Thorndike provided a straightforward demonstration of this concept by incarcerating alley cats. Imprisoning the animals resulted in obvious discomfort, which led to an attempt by each cat to free himself of the cage through violent outbursts (Thorndike 1965). Eventually a cat would set himself free by accidentally clawing the mechanism that kept the cage door locked. By repeating the experiment, the cats gradually learned that the latch was the key to freeing themselves of their irritating imprisonment. As Thorndike (1965) concluded,
gradually all the other non-successful impulses will be stamped out and the particular impulse leading to the successful act will be stamped in by the resulting pleasure, until, after many trials, the cat will, when put in the box, immediately claw the button or loop in a definite way. (P. 36, italics added)
Thus, the behavior of the cats was conditioned by the consequence that followed their latch-opening behavior.
Although Thorndike did consider the application of operant conditioning to human beings to some extent, it was Skinner who devoted most of his research to humans within their social setting. According to Skinner, an individual’s behavior may be controlled by his or her social group that offers or denies acceptance of the behavior in question. Acceptance can take the form of “admiration, approval, affection” or any other positive reinforcement that encourages the individual to continue behaving in a similar manner; a negative response from the group can leave the individual “criticized, censured, blamed, or otherwise punished” (Rogers and Skinner 1956:1057-58). Consequences following the individual’s behavior, whether positive or negative, leaving the individual labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’, are often so subtle that most would not recognize this sequence of events as a technique of control.
Skinner also notes that the individuals who make up the responding group are also conditioned, with respect to whether they reward or punish the behavior in question. The immediate response of approval or disapproval on the part of the group often takes into consideration issues such as ethics, responsibility, and rights that have the capacity to influence each member due to the conditioning that has taught them to respond in such a manner (Rogers and Skinner 1956). However, operant conditioning can be complex in terms of predicting behavior since what is considered a reward or punishment might be ambiguous and subjective. For instance, the consequence of receiving detention that follows a student’s disruptive behavior in class is usually seen as a punishment. Then again, if the student views the consequence of receiving detention as a reward instead of a punishment, since, for example, the student has a crush on another disruptive student, that student would be more likely to repeat the behavior that resulted in a reward.
Many have agreed that conditioning is very powerful and has the potential to shape behavior and attitudes, alter personalities, and even change lives (Winn 1983). In particular, conditioning can be extremely powerful when it is unconscious and can become so entrenched that it is very difficult to remove. In reference to the changing notions of women’s place in society, it can be seen that many of the unconscious perceptions that women hold of themselves are in fact conditioned:
… when it is discovered that associations between women and passivity are conditioned, rather than intrinsically true, the emotional break with that heritage is harder to effect than a purely intellectual one. Many women who work full time at responsible jobs and fully believe that their husbands or partners should play their part in home-running and family-rearing, still feel guilty if they don’t see to traditional domestic matters or don’t have a meal ready when the man gets home. (Winn 1983:69)
Thus, the power of conditioning cannot be underestimated since knowledge of the ability to shape behaviors and attitudes translates into a capacity to control others. The available literature clearly demonstrates the might of conditioning methods and their potential to control activities that range from thought processes to emotions to habits:
People can be conditioned to blush or otherwise react emotionally to meaningless words or phrases; to respond impassively to outrageous epithets; to hallucinate to signals; to feel fear, revulsion, embarrassment or arousal upon demand; to feel cold when they are being warmed or warm when being chilled; to become ill when lights are flashed; to narrow or enlarge their blood vessels or the pupils of their eyes; to feel like urinating with an empty bladder or not feel the need with a full one; to establish habits and mannerisms they had never known before; and to break free forever from lifelong patterns of activity they thought could never be forgotten. (London 1969:85)
These conditioning methods are similar regardless of whether the end result is the alteration of pupils or the influence of attitudes.
In political science, the influence of an individual’s attitude and behavior is very straightforward within the world of elections. Political candidates fully intend to influence the attitudes and voting behavior of the public they hope to represent. Candidates possess a platform of ideas and each works to sell their ideas to the public. In this way, a political candidate is intentionally aiming to influence the attitudes of citizens to the point where those citizens believe that the candidate’s platform is attractive, representing changes or particular focuses that the citizen would like to see take place. By influencing one’s attitudes, the development of an opinion is manufactured. The behavior of an individual is also influenced; in this case the individual may potentially vote for the candidate who most influenced the individual’s attitudes to conform to his political platform.
Political candidates often rely on logic to sell their platform by presenting the arguments of their fellow candidates in such a way as to suggest that their ideas are better than the ideas of their colleagues. For instance, in the 2004 Canadian federal campaign, the Liberal party ran a series of advertisements that attacked Conservative leader Stephen Harper. In a female voice, the advertisements stated that “Mr. Harper wanted to take Canadian troops into Iraq, wants to limit a woman's right to choose, wants to ally with the Bloc Québécois and wants to spend heavily on military hardware” (Taber 2004:A1). These arguments appealed to logic by suggesting that the Conservative position does not correspond to the interests of most Canadians. Therefore, Canadians were encouraged to formulate an attitude on the basis of this information that potentially resulted in both a negative opinion of the Conservatives and a positive opinion of the Liberals.
In addition, political candidates also rely on emotionally-provoking statements that might encourage the citizen to have a positive emotional response in reaction to the candidate’s position, or evoke a negative emotional response to a fellow candidate in reaction to the former candidate’s arguments. Therefore, the influence of attitudes and opinions can be directed towards two separate components depending on the route that a political candidate chooses to take: the belief component or the affective (feeling) component. For instance, “a political candidate will often attempt to win people by making them like him and dislike his opponent,” which represents a plea to the public’s affect as opposed to ideas and aims at garnering the public’s affection and, in so doing, manufacturing favorable beliefs about the candidate (Katz 1981:42). “Another candidate may deal primarily with ideas and hope that, if he can change people’s beliefs about an issue, their feelings will also change” (Katz 1981:43). A recent example directed towards the affective component occurred during the 2003 Ontario political campaign. The Tory party accused Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty of being “an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet” (Smith 2003:A4). If citizens believed such an outrageous accusation, it would surely evoke a negative emotional response on the part of the citizens, thereby altering their attitude toward the Liberal party and potentially influencing their voting behavior.
Analogous to the idea that classical conditioning procedures are most effective when the subject has little prior knowledge of the subject matter, techniques of social control are also most effective within political science when the subject lacks a “strong disposition either way and [pays only] casual attention” to the subject matter (McQuail 1981:270). Thus, issues of foreign policy are ripe for methods of social control since the public’s attitudes and opinions are more easily influenced when the subject matter involves events that occur abroad and when they are not very familiar with the topic (McQuail 1981). Moreover, foreign policy issues are potentially one of the most unproblematic areas in terms of swaying public opinion since the public often does not have regular access to or spend time seeking out alternative sources of information and often does not feel personally involved in the issue, thereby thwarting any impulse to resist the appeal and choose not to believe the information. These conditions are vital to the success of information campaigns (McQuail 1981).
The following section provides a discussion of the historical evolution of the concept of social control from a sociological perspective. Virtually all accounts make reference to Edward A. Ross, one of the founders of American sociology, as the first academic to have used the term social control, which culminated in a volume aptly named Social Control. However, even before Ross, Karl Marx had contemplated control with respect to ideology. While Marx did not consider himself a sociologist, his insights will provide a foundation for this analysis of social control. This section will conclude with an assessment of where the development of social control rests today after this long historical evolution.
Marx conceived of human beings as individuals who actively manufacture their ideas and conceptions. Thus, “men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter … their actual world, also their thinking and the products of their thinking. It is not consciousness that determines life, but life that determines consciousness” (Marx and Engels 1976:31). If individuals play a part in determining consciousness, individuals who form a group within society based on their material possessions and power can potentially influence the consciousness of other members of that society. Hence, Marx and Engels (1976) argued, “the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force” (p. 57, original italics). In this sense, ideas and conceptions are utilized by the more powerful groups in society to control those ideas and conceptions available to the consciousness of the rest of the members of that society. In the words of Marx and Engels (1976), “The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, consequently also controls the means of mental production, so that the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are on the whole subject to it” (p. 57). This conception views the ruling class as occupying a position in society that allows for the control of others by obtaining the means of material production. However, to ensure that this interpretation does not imply that more powerful groups intentionally conspire to control the less powerful of society, it should be pointed out that Marx was attacking the structural foundations of society since the ‘ruling ideas’ originate in a structure that positions one class at the top of the hierarchy, leaving the rest subordinate to their rule.
While theorizing about ideology as an instrument of control among classes, Marx used the example of religion to show how a set of ideas can essentially control groups of human beings and how religion can deflect attention away from fundamental problems in the structure of society. As Marx explains,
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions. (Marx and Engels 1964:42, original italics)
By providing and encouraging religion within society, dominant groups can avert peoples’ thoughts away from their unhappiness, resulting from their poor economic condition and the entire economic and political structure of society, and instead direct peoples’ thoughts towards the happiness that they will receive after life and the justness of society in the eyes of God. Marx’s reference to opium completes his depiction perfectly. Opium does not cure an underlying problem but it can cause an individual to forget his or her pain and suffering. Thus, while religion can be seen to serve a beneficial purpose, in temporarily lifting one’s spirits, it can also be utilized as an instrument of thought control by those groups who have the capacity to maintain their own economic and political interests, which are habitually in contrast with the interests of the rest of society.
Furthermore, the concept of a false consciousness is essential to our discussion of Marxist ideology. Before Marx, Holbach wrote on the topic of false consciousness:
By means of deception, manipulation and their commanding position in society, political elites utilize false ideological ideas like ‘the divine right of kings’ to foster a false social consciousness. And they do so, in Holbach’s opinion, because a socially ignorant and false-thinking majority is essential to the preservation of their unjust social regimes. (Pines 1993:54)
Holbach’s views are consistent with the dominant ideology thesis, which clearly states that these false ideologies are merely “the intellectual ‘masks’ or ‘disguises’ utilized by the ruling elite for rationalizing and legitimating their social status and authority; at the same time they are social ideas employed by the ruling elite to deceive their subjects” (Pines 1993:57). Those members of society who find themselves in the subordinate classes have difficulty recognizing the true interests of the more powerful groups and the real nature of society. However, if they are able to recognize their common position in the subordinate class, the group as a whole can have the potential to transform from a ‘class in itself’ to a ‘class for itself.’ In this sense, Marx held onto his hope that the proletariat would be able to break free of the chains of false consciousness, possibly with his help, in order to recognize their common position of subordination and in doing so could transform from consciousness to action. Together, the proletariat forms a class due to their common position of lacking the means of production and hence a sole reliance on their own labor power for survival. Only after reaching a common understanding that all members of the proletariat form a class in themselves can the proletariat choose to act by becoming a class for themselves and begin working to change the structure of society to their benefit.
Even Plato discussed ideas in line with the notion of a false consciousness. In Plato’s Republic, prisoners are chained inside a cave and can only see shadows of what appears to represent reality. “Not only is this perception flawed, [Plato] suggests, but it is in the nature of this flaw to disguise itself, so that it appears self-evident to human beings that the visible world is the only real one” (Hawkes 1996:15). If a prisoner escapes his chains and is able to see that the shadows are not actually representing reality, he might run back to tell the other prisoners, but they would not believe him since the ideological control that they have succumbed to is so complete that they would consider the escapee a lunatic (Hawkes 1996).
Therefore, Marx has identified social control as a potentially manipulative mechanism whose wielding power is ultimately in the hands of those groups who possess the material instruments of production within society. While Marxist perspectives regard society in terms of a clear conception of classes and accompanying power structures, the perspective of this thesis will be outlined in detail in chapter three, shedding light on the relationship between the state and powerful interest groups in society.
Many have agreed that Ross, writing at the end of the 19th century, forever changed the way in which we conceptualize social control. “By Social Control … I mean that ascendancy over the aims and acts of the individual which is exercised on behalf of the group” (Ross 1896:519). He describes the practice of social control as a necessary process that involves “the molding of the individual’s feelings and desires to suit the needs of the group” (Ross 1896:518). However, the group itself has a historical development and is a chief feature of society. Ross (1896) explains how “mutual aid, division of labor, formation of industrial groups, [and] specialization and exchange with its facilities for communicating and transporting” are components of a particular society that succeed in altering the individual, but he also argues that social control is a necessary aspect of society whereas the former components are merely sufficient. Thus, “when an aggregate reacts on the aims of the individual, warping him out of his self-regarding course, and drawing his feet into the highway of common weal, it merits the title of ‘society’” (Ross 1896:518). In this sense, Ross follows the conclusion of Hobbes and Rousseau that social control is an indispensable component of civil society.
Realizing that social control as a social phenomenon had not yet been appropriately explored, Ross went on to explain the reasoning behind the lack of progress. Conceptualizing social control as a process that involves the regulation of groups, Ross searched for specialized institutions within society such as police, courts, prisons, law, and mental homes that assume this task. He concluded that no such classification could satisfactorily exist since there were such a large variety of potential sources. Social control could be exercised “through religious, governmental and professional organizations, through amorphous masses of people, through individuals and through super-organic products, such as folk-lore, tradition, ceremonial poetry and works of art” (Ross 1896:534). To solve this dilemma, Ross maintained that no group of specialized institutions devoted to the exclusive regulation of humans existed.
Instead, Ross (1896) chose to focus his attention on an alternative classification involving human feelings, which he regarded as the “innermost core of a man” (517). Social control is exercised through the stimulation of feelings such as love, fear, or pride, which in turn restrain or incite particular actions. By focusing on the nature of the stimulus applied to alter behavior or influence attitudes instead of the institution or visible agency that regulates groups, Ross argued that the study of social control should “emphasize forces rather than forms” (Ross 1896:534). Any other methodology could overlook the incidences when control does not stem from a particular organization. Thus, Ross urged social scientists to consider all things “that [shape] men in the interest of the group – every motive, inducement, incitement, penalty, check, sanction, influence, ideal or custom – every stimulus, in short, of social origin and application must fall within the scope of investigation” (Ross 1896:535).
Thus, Ross did take into account what later became known as the classical view of social control wherein widely shared norms are applied as sanctions for deviants. In this sense, norms “are learned through socialization, legitimated by deeply rooted religious authority, and enforced by informal sanctions such as scorn, ridicule, anger, and violence” (Horowitz 1990:2). However, Ross also considered forces of social control outside of this view; for instance, he argued that social suggestion is a key component of social control. With respect to the mass media, Ross did not claim that the press seeks to influence societal members by pursuing a particular function, but he did maintain that the mass media are “a ‘pontiff’ carrying out massive ‘social suggestion’ – a process by which ‘the stubborn individual will is bent to the social purpose’ without the use of immediate punishments or rewards” (Splichal 2002:73). This conception of social control tends towards Marxist notions of ideological control, especially with respect to Ross’ ‘persuasive communication,’ or “the art of introducing into man’s mind unwelcome ideas so neatly as not to arouse the will to expel them” (Splichal 2002:73).
However, Ross’ ideas were not accepted without criticism. His conceptualization was criticized for remaining relatively imprecise, which left the concept of social control open to such broad interpretations that it could potentially “encompass the study of all influences on individuals, confusing it with the entire field of sociology” (Wood 1974:51). In his later papers, Ross attempted to refine the meaning of social control by distinguishing between order, which necessitated effective social control, and peace, which did not require social control. However, Hobbes and Rousseau’s work taught us that social control is a necessity for society, regardless of whether it remains in a state of peace or war. While Ross was able to enhance the study of social control by discussing the various phenomenon that could be classified and used as analytical tools, his vague definition of social control and his tendency to favor some forms and not others was problematic and required the work of later theorists to improve its utility.
Around the same time period another founder of American sociology, William Graham Sumner, took notice of the concept of social control while distinguishing between folkways and mores. Similar to the classical view, Sumner was interested in group norms as a means of generating conformity within a population. In particular he emphasized the differential degrees of legal sanctions meted out with respect to the severity of the noncomformity. Any individual who does not conform to the “central core of the group’s norms, values, and beliefs [will receive] stringent legal sanctions” (Coser 1982:14). Thus, Sumner’s major focus of attention was directed at the methods that society utilized to shape individuals in a way in which they would become “fit for social cooperation” (Coser 1982:14). In this sense, Sumner was interested in social control that is necessary for the maintenance of civil society as opposed to social control that occurs outside of this objective. For instance, a social control campaign initiated by the US government in an attempt to secure economic and political interests through foreign policymaking falls beyond the classical view of social control.
Alexis de Tocqueville was arguably the first to recognize the fact that public opinion is a potential weapon not only in the hands of the public against the abuses of power by the elite in society, but also in the hands of the powerful as a “means of permanent coercion” (Splichal 2002:66). Furthermore, he argued that the law itself might be less powerful than the means of social control possessed by the elite in society who maintain the ability to contradict the majority and still force conformity. The individual is convinced by public opinion that he is in the wrong, without the necessity of force (Splichal 2002:66). Similarly, Robert E. Park also regarded public opinion as a form of social control, along with two further forms: “elementary or spontaneous forms of social control in the crowd, ceremony, prestige and taboo,” and those forms utilized by institutions to direct social control to their benefit (Splichal 2002:68). However, Ross would argue that de Tocqueville’s and Park’s focus on forms restrict the concept of social control. Nevertheless, at this point in the historical evolution the significance of social control within academic thought reached a new height: “Social control is the central fact and the central problem of society” (Park, as quoted in Splichal 2002:68).
An important advancement by these early thinkers was a recognition that a “prominent feature of social control is the variety of styles through which it can be exercised” (Horowitz 1990:6). Thus, the legal system no longer constituted the “only important mechanism” of social control as some had previously claimed; in fact, the law may not even be the most important mechanism (Coser 1982:14). Moreover, social scientists began to view social interaction as a key to the process of developing the human self. This critical discovery facilitated the conceptualization of the process of internalizing societal pressures to conform. Thus, Emile Durkheim argued that “social norms, far from simply being imposed on the individual by the surrounding society, came to be internalized in the personality of social actors” (Coser 1982:14). Processes of socialization now began to enter the discussion, providing an elaboration of a system of social control wherein progression extended from societal norms to an individual psyche to that individual’s “sense of moral obligation to obey a rule” (Coser 1982:15).
Further contributions came from George Herbert Mead and Sigmund Freud, both of whom argued for some form of an internal regulating system. According to Mead, attitudes and expectations of ‘significant others’ are internalized within the individual psyche and represent the ‘generalized other.’ Mead’s internalized ‘generalized other’ constitutes one’s moral conscience. Therefore, social control can be performed through the creation and dissemination of a set of social norms which are eventually internalized through the process of socialization and in return act as a force that restricts one’s behavior so that he or she conforms to the ‘generalized other,’ or, in other words, to one’s society-created conscience (Coser 1982:15). In a similar fashion, Freud formulated this process in terms of his renowned ‘superego.’ Thus, it is concluded that as an individual embarks on the “process of attaining maturity, the ‘external policeman’ is largely replaced by an ‘internal policeman’” (Coser 1982:15).
Mead and Freud’s conceptualization indicates that social control is activated from within the individual psychic structure. While this conception may imply that social control is not exercised by powerful groups in society, the possibility still exists that the definition of norms in a society, even the definition of deviants, is under the discretion of those powerful groups who make decisions based on their own political and economic interests. In this sense, conceptions of morality and feelings of guilt are powerful instruments in the exercise of social control through the socialization of sets of norms that incite or restrict behavior. Marx’s notion of religion as the ‘opium of the people’ clearly suits this conception.
Durkheim’s work extended social control beyond activation within the individual since he also incorporated the notion that social control can be evoked collectively. To this end, Durkheim considered how societal actors could be persuaded to alter behavior dependent upon collective action sets that could be created by particular groups in society. Thus, while social control may be directed towards the individual psyche, it can also be directed toward a group of people in order to control or produce the desired action response. In this sense, it is possible to consider Durkheim’s conceptualization of social control in terms of the US government’s capacity to promote stories that incorporate an evaluative component, akin to social norms, in the process of manufacturing a desired response, or attitude, that provides the basis for the mobilization of public opinion in support of foreign policy objectives.
Initially optimistic, Cooley argued that the “rule of public opinion, then, means for the most part a latent authority which the public will exercise when sufficiently dissatisfied with the specialist who is in immediate charge of a particular function” (Splichal 2002:69). Thus, Cooley appeared to suggest that the less powerful fraction of society retained a mechanism of social control for their own purposes. Nevertheless, Cooley’s thinking soon turned toward radical ideas of class domination. While analyzing the American capitalist class, Cooley argued that, to a large degree, the capitalist class molds public opinion through the educational institution and the mass media. Thus, newspapers employ journalists who “live unconsciously in an atmosphere of upper-class ideals from which they do not free themselves by thorough inquiry” (Splichal 2002:71).
Cooley’s conceptualization was approaching Gramsci’s concept of hegemony but stopped short by concluding instead that the capitalist class of his time had less influence than in the past and that a portion of the public should remain attentive to the decisions being made. Gramsci’s concept of hegemony refers to “the ability of the dominant class to maintain its power through ‘ideological apparatuses’ rather than by direct (material or physical) coercion” (Splichal 2002:71). Essentially, powerful groups in society maintain their rule by constantly working to obtain the consent of the less powerful groups who, in turn, accept and legitimize the authority and power of the dominant groups by internalizing the structure as ‘normal’ and ‘natural.’
Amidst the growing interest in power, ideology, and the manipulation of the less powerful to conform to the will of those groups who possess more power within society were the Progressives, particularly John Dewey. Dewey bestows upon the less powerful in society a greater sense of agency than Cooley does. Dewey’s definition of social control would likely strike a chord of relief among the general public since he does not suggest that the more powerful class has an advantage over the rest of society: “Social control was believed to direct the behavior of members of society according to consensually accepted core system values” (Splichal 2002:74). As a further illustration of Dewey’s conservative standpoint, he viewed the modern press as “functionally equivalent to genuine interpersonal discussions in a small community, recreated on a larger scale [and viewed] dissemination of scientific information as [its] major function” (Splichal 2002:75). This view of the mass media is clearly at odds with Ross and Cooley’s perspectives.
Dewey’s conceptualization of social control argues that it is executed on behalf of all members of society since the values that social control imposes on each individual are accepted by everyone. However, if everyone accepted the values to begin with, would social control be necessary for their instillation? Perhaps it would since the values would have to be agreed upon at a single point in time and any new members who join the society after such an agreement takes place would still have to be indoctrinated. Still, this process appears to leave open the possibility that complete consensus may be difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, Dewey’s insights do not provide an assessment of social control apart from the internalization of social values in an attempt to maintain social order, which limits the scope of the concept within the restrictions of the classical view.
Talcott Parsons began his analysis of social control from a social psychological framework: “A mechanism of social control … is a motivational process in one or more individual actors which tends to counteract a tendency to deviance” (Parsons, as quoted in Wood 1974:52, original italics). The individual personality reacts defensively and adjusts to various strains, and it is these actions that constitute mechanisms of social control for Parsons (Wood 1974).
Approaching the problem from a functionalist perspective, Parsons discusses social systems in reference to states of equilibrium, although he recognizes that no social system is ever in perfect equilibrium. Thus, an actor’s ‘motivational structure’ requires balancing through socialization. In this view, to restrict behavior or prevent it altogether, social control consists of a series of
… processes which teach the actor not to embark on processes of deviance. They consist in his learning how not to rather than how to in the positive sense of socialization. The re-equilibrating aspects … involve the unlearning of the alienative elements of the motivational structure. (Parsons 1951:298)
This analysis leaves Parsons’ notion of social control limited in comparison to Marx, Ross or Cooley since he clearly equates social control with prevention of deviant behavior, which falls under the classical view of social control. Alternatively, Marx furthers the scope of the conception of social control by discussing the interests of particular groups in society and the ways in which less powerful groups are often duped into believing unquestioningly that the portrait painted for them is in fact reality. Thus, one might argue that Parsons’ conceptualization is akin to a step backward in the conceptual evolution of social control since he ignores the participation of other essential concepts such as power and ideology.
For LaPiere, social control is a necessary component of every social grouping. Formal and informal exercises of social control are identified as the two methods of social control that attempt to maintain group norms. Formal exercises include the processes of socialization while informal exercises include alternative measures, such as ignoring a group member when spotted on a street due to his unusual credit system that hampers other merchants from retaining their customers (LaPiere 1965). Since deviations from group norms are considered threatening to the society, social control preserves social order. Thus, no emphasis is placed on the underlying power structure or the processes and interest groups involved in the definition of these allegedly consensual group norms. Similar to Parsons, LaPiere provides us with another strain of the classical view of social control.
Bernd Baldus provides a more recent conceptualization of social control that does not conform to the classical view. Baldus (1977) discusses the issue of complementarity as an instrument of social control that contends with the problem of order. According to Baldus, in capitalist societies the problem of order is increasingly challenging since the parts of the collective are more and more independent and diverse. To combat this challenge, Baldus considers two types of social control: interventive control, or the use of persuasion or coercion, and complementary conditions. The force of Baldus’ argument rests on the latter tactic of social control. This strategy “involves the use of already existing conditions in the periphery which are not the intended result of a prior control initiative by the dominant class, but are complementary to its interests” (Baldus 1977:250, original italics). As Côté and Allahar (1996) describe, the dominant group monitors the behavior of a particular population and identifies whether the behavior complements or promotes their interests. “Where it is complementary it will be encouraged, used, or exploited; and where certain patterns of behavior do not exist, those in power will attempt to ascertain the possibilities of creating them” (Côté and Allahar 1996:132-33). For example, Baldus utilizes Philip Agee’s examples from his book Inside the Company to demonstrate a conscious use of complementarity as an instrument of social control:
The financial support of existing conservative parties, the use of local mass media to disseminate false information and to conceal its origins, or the bombing of churches in such a way that it is likely to be attributed to ‘radical subversives’ take advantage of existing conditions which are favorable to the [American Central Intelligence Agency’s] operations. (Baldus 1977:251)
Baldus’ use of complementarity extends the previous arguments regarding social control to a new level of conscious manipulation and coercion on the part of powerful groups in society and it appears to be very useful, especially where the mass media are concerned. For instance, by promoting professional sports on television, the ideology underlying capitalism that serves to maintain the position and legitimacy of the dominant class appears valid. Therefore, “professional sports serve to perpetuate the myth that life is fair, an illusion necessary to the status quo” (Côté and Allahar 1996:140). In addition, “a distracted population benefits or complements the interests of those who wish to rule” (Côté and Allahar 1996:131-32).
Moreover, powerful groups in society benefit from complementarity as a strategy of social control for two reasons. First, the cost is much less than costs arising from interventive control (Baldus 1977). In fact, the cost is usually nonexistent since this strategy is often successful at meeting the needs of powerful groups simply through the behavior of the periphery that is already in existence. Secondly, even though the behavior of the periphery is increasingly independent and diverse, as Baldus (1977) suggested in his initial statement of the ‘problem of order,’ the needs of powerful groups are still being met. Furthermore, the intention of the actors within the periphery does not have to be harmonious with the goals of the more powerful groups in society. The actual thoughts of the individual actors in the periphery do not matter; they simply must obey. “The use of complementary behavior therefore allows the dominant class to obtain needed means from a periphery which appears to pursue goals of its own choice, and free of outside interference” (Baldus 1977:251).
In sum, Ross’ work on the conceptualization of social control remained a dominant force until the 1950s, whereas Parsons and LaPiere’s efforts within the classical view grew more influential after 1950 (Meier 1982). Ross’ broad conceptualization “equates social control with virtually anything that presumably contributes to social order” whereas Parsons and LaPiere provide a narrower conceptualization, equating social control with “conformity to norms or the counteraction of deviance” (Meier 1982:266). Thus, Ross’ conceptualization makes it difficult to study social control since it leaves the definition open to potentially infinite interpretations. On the other hand, Parsons and LaPiere’s conceptualization provides a subject that is more readily open to empirical analysis, but its narrow focus disregards the possible use of social control for illegitimate purposes that extend beyond the spread of appropriate norms for the prevention of deviance. For instance, this thesis argues that social control is used to influence the attitudes of Americans in an attempt to aid the manufacture of public opinion in support of US foreign policy objectives. This use of social control transcends the classical view, which focuses only on those legitimate uses that are required for the preservation of social order in the maintenance of civil society. In addition, their entire conception is precariously resting upon an assumption that is likely flawed – that social scientists concur upon the definition of deviance and the isolation of specific instances of it (Meier 1982). Due to the increasing reliance on mere deviance in regard to concepts of social control since the 1950s, the term itself has “largely lost any specific meaning” in the latter half of the twentieth century, “denoting simply all the different ways … in which society responds (to the threat of) deviant behavior” (Splichal 2002:78).
More recent thought has indicated that sociological analysis of the concept of social control should question the process of opinion formation and the sources of influence and power (Wood 1974). Development in this direction would reconsider Marxist contributions to the study of power and ideology in the conceptualization of social control. In addition, studies such as those highlighted in the classical conditioning section of the psychological approach to social control would be more useful if the sociological perspective entertained Ross’ broad conceptualization in order to discover concentrations for the study of social control that exist outside of the classical view. Baldus’ work on complimentarity does shed more light in this direction, providing a point of departure for further research in the area of social control. However, the development of social control has incurred various theoretical and methodological problems along this historical evolution, each of which will be expressed in the next section.
This section will address various theoretical and methodological issues that plague the conceptualization of social control. The first section draws attention to the consideration of assumptions that underlie theories of social control, followed by a pronouncement of the problem of conceptual redundancy. The place of coercion, success of method, and intentionality in the conception of social control is also assessed. The methodological section raises the issue of studying social control within the constraints of a naturalistic perspective versus a normative perspective.
To prevent conceptual oversights, one must remain cautious of any ideological positions that underlie assumptions of particular theories. For example, functionalism tends to view society as a system that strives to maintain equilibrium; if a phenomenon persists, it must have a function and “if a thing has a ‘function’ it is good or at least essential” (Myrdal, as quoted in Merton 1968:91). Thus, with respect to social control, functionalist theory assumes that control serves a purpose in society, reestablishing equilibrium among the members. However, one could easily accept a functionalist theory without considering whether or not the underlying assumption is plausible: that social control is ‘natural,’ ‘desirable,’ and ‘inevitable.’ While this assumption is plausible in terms of the maintenance of social order, is it also just as ‘natural,’ ‘desirable,’ and ‘inevitable’ that social control tends to serve the political and economic interests of the government and powerful societal interest groups, generally to the detriment of other groups in society? In a similar vein, one should be aware that “[t]otal objectivity is beyond human attainment” (Wood 1974:53). Therefore, any conceptualization of social control is prone to the value preferences of its author. Broad societal values might also influence the underlying assumptions or theoretical viewpoint. For example, throughout “the Great Depression of the 1930s, discussions of control via social planning were couched in the ideologies of laissez faire liberalism or the opposite pole of socialism” (Wood 1974:53).
Beyond these considerations is the problem of conceptual redundancy, which refers to the need to distinguish the concept of social control from other fundamental concepts within the social sciences (Meier 1982). For instance, social control is often conceptualized in close relation to concepts such as socialization or influence, compelling the concept to become effectively “synonymous with all of sociology’s subject matter” (Meier 1982:266). In this sense, the concept explains everything and nothing at the same time. Thus, Ross’ broad conceptualization falls prone to conceptual redundancy.
Moreover, in what appears to be attempts to narrow the conceptual meaning of social control, particular issues have been excluded from various definitions. For example, Morris Janowitz does not include coercion within his conceptualization of social control. Janowitz is careful to separate social control from coercive control: “The opposite of social control can be thought of as coercive control, that is, the social organization of a society which rests predominantly and essentially on force – the threat and use of force” (Janowitz 1991:74). He does concede that an ‘element of coercion’ is required for social order, but he expects it to be limited with respect to a ‘system of legitimate norms’ (Janowitz 1991).
Similarly, an academic could choose to narrow the definition of social control by focusing only on those attempts to influence behavior that are successful (Meier 1982). However, this route would dispense with any existing theories that consider the effectiveness of social control since any method of social control that was deemed ineffective would, by definition, cease to be a method of social control. At any rate, the literature that has accumulated so far has demonstrated inconclusive findings regarding the effectiveness of social control techniques since each method largely depends upon specifics, such as the type of situation or individual, which are particular to the conception employed (Meier 1982).
A further dilemma concerns the issue of intentionality. Should social control be considered a conscious act? Ross’ conceptualization would recommend that it should whereas Janowitz might disagree since coercion is not even considered a possibility with regards to methods of social control. Nevertheless, if we do conceive of social control as a conscious act, how are we, as social scientists, to assess the intentions of human conduct? Also, how would “unintended mechanisms that promote social order or conformity to norms” fit into this conceptual structure (Meier 1982:268)? Furthermore, if the control exerted upon an individual originates in a collective organization, we have no method of deducing intentions from that collectivity (Meier 1982). These questions bring us to Robert K. Merton and his discussion of manifest and latent functions.
While Merton (1968) admits that he did not create the terms ‘manifest’ and ‘latent,’ since Freud and Francis Bacon had both considered these concepts before he turned to them, he does recognize the importance of this distinction for sociologists. With respect to social phenomenon, the associated motives and functions will vary independent of one another, but when sociologists do not consider this reality the difference between ‘conscious motivations’ for a particular action and the ‘objective consequences’ of that same action are nullified (Merton 1968). In Merton’s words, manifest functions refer to “those objective consequences for a specified unit (person, subgroup, social or cultural system) which contribute to its adjustment or adaptation and were so intended”; latent functions refer to “unintended and unrecognized consequences of the same order” (Merton 1968:117). Thus, an analysis of social control might consider both manifest and latent functions in order to assess the intent behind the consequences produced by a particular method of social control.
However, conceptualizing social control as intentional conduct is beneficial with respect to the conceptual difficulties discussed. For instance, social control as a conscious act would not only sustain the successful/unsuccessful distinction, but it would also allow for a narrowing of the definition in an effort to avert the problem of conceptual redundancy. In the end, social control is conceived as intentional behavior to those sociologists who are not concerned with any resulting reductionism, “while staunch antireductionists are inclined to define social control as any mechanism (intended or unintended) that contributes to social order” (Meier 1982:269). However, Marxist sociology provides an exception to the rule since its conception of social control accentuates intentionality while remaining opposed to reductionism and targets a collectivity as the chief agent of social control (Meier 1982). As I point out in the conclusion to this chapter, the conceptualization of social control adopted by this thesis follows the Marxist tradition.
With the general acceptance of Darwinism at the turn of the century, questions surrounding human nature became rampant, which led to a widespread movement toward the acceptance of empiricism as the only path to the ‘truth’ (Grossberg, Wartella and Whitney 1998). Along with Newton and Spencer, Darwin’s theories encouraged academics to adopt the naturalistic approach in order to search for the natural laws of the universe (Allahar 1991). By explaining social phenomena without reference to the ‘biblical account of Creation,’ Darwin had invited new ways of perceiving social reality through a lens of ‘science’ and ‘rationality’ (Allahar 1991).
However, this naturalistic approach does not permit the empirical study of human emotions when humans are objects of social control since emotions cannot be empirically tested and validated. Thus, we are left to rely upon social commentaries such as 1984 and Brave New World or qualitative methodologies that are not restricted by a scientific lens to provide insights into potential emotional outcomes of controlled individuals. This downfall has led academics to virtually disregard issues that cannot be studied under the rigors of empiricism. Also, the tendency to highlight repressive forms of social control at the expense of alternative informal measures, such as those contained under the rubric of ideological control, reflects a denial of the entirety of the forms of social control.
Nevertheless, it should be recognized that scholars can proceed in either a naturalistic direction, maintaining the tradition of empiricism, or a normative direction, which does not rely strictly on scientific procedures. While naturalistic research has the advantage of conforming to these accepted scientific procedures, for the most part many people are concerned with how control ought to be utilized and to what purposes, questions that this approach cannot answer (Meier 1982). On the other hand, the normative approach cannot be validated by empirical analysis and thus lacks credibility in the eyes of many academics.
With respect to naturalistic research, two academics that were not mentioned in the previous sections have studied social control in this direction. Jack P. Gibbs provided a reconceptualization of social control: “Social control is an attempt by one party to manipulate the behavior of another party through still another party by any means other than a chain of command” (Gibbs 1981:109). In this sense, social control is an intentional act, which is evident through the use of the terms ‘attempt’ and ‘manipulate,’ that either successfully or unsuccessfully controls human conduct. Thus, the potential for coercion remains while social control is viewed outside of the classical view, considering more than mere responses to deviance. In contrast, Donald Black’s (1984) conceptualization maintains that “social control refers more narrowly to how people define and respond to deviant behavior” (p. 5). Black’s goal is to explain deviations in the nature of social control without concern for the effectiveness of the method or the consequences stemming from responses to deviance. Thus, Gibbs’ conceptualization reflects the Marxist tradition while Black’s is more closely related to Parsons narrow perspective.
Apart from conceptual considerations, an examination of social control must consider the various concepts that are intermingled with the very notion of social control. While most of these concepts have already been introduced in earlier sections, it is necessary to examine each along with their link to social control in greater detail. The following sections will discuss power, ideology, hegemony, and language.
Wood (1974:54) argues that power is “the basic element in social control, defined as ‘an actor’s ability to induce or influence another actor to carry out his directives or any other norms he supports.’” As an instrument in the practice of social control, power can be utilized “to maintain and redirect policies of the group, and to prevent or decrease variant and deviant behavior” (Wood 1974:54). Power is often manifested in relationships that involve individuals who possess differential authority and positions within the hierarchical structure of society. According to Marxist interpretations, those groups who possess the means of material production are also those with the greatest amount of wealth, and thus retain the greatest amount of prestige and privilege in society. Individuals gain power as they climb the ladder of social stratification since each rung represents more resources capable of influencing those without resources, or, at least, a smaller quantity of resources.
For instance, if the more powerful groups in society wish to use their power to direct the mass media, they can likely gather any of their abundant resources and proceed to a meeting with a news manager. In using power to influence the decision-making process of news managers, these societal groups possess the capacity to control the dissemination of knowledge according to their class-based interests. For instance,
Today the U.S. broadcast media, both private and public, must continue to please a small group of banks, insurance companies, and giant institutional investor groups that also control billions of dollars in U.S. pension funds through their inter-locking ownership of corporate stock and government securities. Their profit pursuits largely influence a corporate media culture that treats profits as if they were the root of all that is good. When government, corporate, or military power remain out of the control of ordinary citizens, no matter how profitable or efficient that may appear when ‘packaged’ for the public’s consumption, it is tyranny – whether it appears ‘friendly,’ ‘patriotic,’ ‘lawful and orderly,’ or ‘economically necessary.’ (Mazzocco 1994:xiii-xiv)
Dennis W. Mazzocco successfully incorporates the notions of power, social control, class, and ideology to demonstrate the extent to which he considers the mass media as an instrument in the hands of the most powerful groups in society. The appearances of ‘economic necessity’ or ‘patriotism’ are merely terms infused with ideological significance, influencing those who might otherwise object by using the most appropriate ideological terminology. Furthermore, many of these powerful groups include members who are at the heads of even more powerful corporations that are often linked through conglomerations and mergers to the very news corporations that they wish to control. A parent firm associated with a news corporation retains a large degree of power over which information, or ‘news,’ makes it to print, and in what form. This ability parallels the method of social control discussed in the psychology section regarding the selective transmission of information.
However, the relation between power, social control, and information dissemination is not quite so straightforward. The most powerful groups in society have the ability to ‘frame the public agenda’:
What is at issue is not the honesty of the opinions expressed or the integrity of those who seek the facts but rather the choice of topics and highlighting of issues, the range of opinion permitted expression, the unquestioned premises that guide reporting and commentary, and the general framework imposed for the presentation of a certain view of the world.
Along with framing the public agenda, the powerful groups in society who sit at the head of these corporations “use powerful law firms, influential lobbyists, and heavy campaign contributions to frustrate large-scale public protests by citizen groups and educators” (Bagdikian 1996:11). Thus, these powerful groups have numerous resources at their disposal, permitting them to ensure that their economic and political interests are met.
However, there are many individuals who do not agree with this perspective that powerful groups in society possess power to the extent of influencing the dissemination of information in support of their interests. While Herman and Chomsky are very critical of dominant groups and the power structure of North American society, they provide a useful description of ‘the democratic postulate,’ which represents a viewpoint in opposition to their own:
… the media are independent and committed to discovering and reporting the truth, and that they do not merely reflect the world as powerful groups wish it to be perceived. Leaders of the media claim that their news choices rest on unbiased professional and objective criteria, and they have support for this contention in the intellectual community. (Herman and Chomsky 2002:1ix)
On the other hand, there are countless studies illustrating that “mass media rely heavily on bureaucratic, especially governmental, institutions for the news, and they eschew alternative, unorthodox points of view and promote values generally consistent with capitalist ideas and elite interests” (Demers 1999:109). As a consequence, social problems are often presented from an elitist perspective.
Therefore, not only does power operate between groups that exist at the top of the hierarchy of social stratification and the rest of society, but it also operates between managers and employees, in the process of influencing the attitudes of individuals through the control of the content of the mass media. Consequently, it is clear that power is a critical concept that enables the US government and societal interest groups to maintain the capacity to utilize social control in order to influence public attitudes and thus manufacture public opinion to their advantage.
 Some argue that it originated with Plato’s Republic (1974).
 For examples, see Staats, Staats, and Crawford 1962 or Zanna, Kiesler, and Pilkonis 1970.
 This was an attempt to avoid demand characteristics, which refers to a type of reactivity in which subjects figure out the hypothesis of the experiment and try to please the researcher by altering their behavior in support of the hypothesis (Neuman 2000).
 For example, Skinner discusses the difference in response to a young scholar who must sacrifice in terms of accommodation, nutrition, and spare time in order to save enough money to continue in academics, as opposed to a young scholar who receives funding to pay for academics and thus does not have to suffer in the same manner. The individuals who compose the academic group offer “compensating reinforcement in the form of approval and admiration for these sacrifices” to the former scholar, while concluding that the latter scholar does not require similar reinforcement since there are no sacrifices to merit it and “in missing certain familiar objects of admiration, [the group members] are likely to conclude that such conditions are less admirable” (Rogers and Skinner 1956:1058, original italics). Skinner (1956) concludes that the evaluation of the conditions that evoke a rewarding or punishing response on the part of the group members is originally conditioned by the group’s concurrent ‘membership’ in an ‘ethical group’ which aided the development of the attitudes that led to each group response.
 For examples see Coser 1982 and Noelle-Neumann 1993.
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