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Discourse, Defiance, and Rationality: “Knowledge Work” in the “Obedience” Experiments

Gibson, Stephen ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5648-7669 (2014) Discourse, Defiance, and Rationality: “Knowledge Work” in the “Obedience” Experiments. Journal of Social Issues, 70 (3). pp. 424-438.

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In this paper I present a secondary qualitative analysis of archived audio data from two conditions (‘voice-feedback’ and ‘women as subjects’) in Milgram’s experiments. Using a perspective informed by rhetorical and discursive psychologies, I focus on the rhetorical strategies employed by participants. This highlights the use of strategies based around direct invocations of ‘knowledge’. Analysis explores the ways in which participants could use such strategies to challenge the experimenter’s definition of the situation in their efforts to extricate themselves from the experiment. Findings are discussed in relation to two ongoing debates in the study of Milgram’s experiments: First, the importance of attending to defiance and resistance as much as compliance and obedience; second, the questioning of the status of the phenomena captured in Milgram’s studies as necessarily being concerned with ‘(dis)obedience’.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/josi.12069
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/598

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