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Authority relationships between obedience and disobedience
New Ideas in Psychology
Recent episodes of public dissent (such as the demonstrations against G8 policies) raise the issue of the psychological processes triggered in obeying and disobeying the authority. Even if obedience to authority is an important aspect of social life and it plays a key role in maintaining social order, the concept of obedience has been studied in social psychology mainly in terms of its destructive aspects. Besides, most of the studies have overlooked the role of disobedience in the authority relationship. Disobedience may be conceived of as a protest that undermines the legitimacy of the authority or it can represent an instrument for controlling the legitimacy of the authority's demands, becoming a factor protecting against authoritarianism. In this article, a new perspective on the study of the relationship between the individual and the authority is put forward, considering obedience and disobedience as parallel concepts, each having constructive and destructive aspects. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Authority, Obedience, Disobedience, Responsibility, Moral inclusion
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