Outline the Key Issue for the Social Approach

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Blind obedience is when a person carries out an order even if it goes against their moral values or codes. Prejudice is an unjust attitude towards an individual solely based on their membership of a social group. Both of these issues were present in Abu Ghraib Prison (Iraq). They occurred when American soldiers commit terrible act upon Iraqi prisoners staying there. The soldiers claimed they were merely following orders, but scepticisms have been made about whether it was blind obedience or prejudice that made them commit the acts. There are 2 main theories that help to explain what blind obedience and prejudice are, and why they occur. One theory is agency theory which was proposed by Milgram (1974). Agency theory suggests that at any…show more content…
Social identity theory states that the ‘in-group’ will discriminate against the ‘out-group’ and show favouritism towards their group to boost their self-esteem. Tajfel also proposed that there are 3 mental processes involved in putting people in to the ‘us’ and ‘them’ groups: social categorisation (putting objects in order to understand them), social identification (adopting the identity of the group we categorised ourselves as belonging to) and social comparison (showing favouritism towards the ‘in group’ and hostility towards the ‘out group’; comparing them). A study that supports this theory was conducted by Sherif et al. (1954). Sherif argues that conflict between groups occurs when two groups are in competition for limited resources. His theory is supported by his study: The Robbers Cave. The experiment involved two groups of 12 year old Protestant boys. The 22 boys were split in to 2 groups, neither was aware of the other’s existence. During the first stage, the boys developed an attachment to their groups and chose the names of their groups; The Eagles and The Rattlers, and drew them on to flags and t-shirts. In the second stage (competition stage), friction was created between the groups and they were put in to competition with one another by a series of activities. Prizes were given to the winners, but there were no consolation prizes for the ‘losers’. At first, the prejudice was only verbally expressed – name calling and
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