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Networks, Groups and Bureaucracies
Networks, Groups and Bureaucracies

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Brym

SOC101 Oct. 13 , 2010 Networks, Groups and Bureaucracies th Intro: 1941 Russian train station: June 28 , hundreds of Soviet soldiers, Nazi troops invaded Belarus a few days ago How did an advanced society like Germany commit the crime of the 20 century? Felt as if Jewish people, etc., threatened them Norms of solidarity demand conformity – when we form relationships we develop shared ideas OR norms of solidarity in order to sustain the relationship Soldiers often did not hate the people that they slaughtered, committed atrocities to maintain group morale, social solidarity Some heroes were anti-Semitic, what Christians had in common was the fact that they were cut-off from mainstream norms early on Poorly socialized, thus freer NOT to conform Heroes tend to have unusual socialization patterns – freedom NOT to conform to group norms later in life Why most people conform: 1. NORMS of solidarity demand conformity. 2. STRUCTURES of authority tend to render people obedient. 3. BUREACRACIES in particular are highly effective structures of authority. For ex. Gangs do commit crimes as a means of maintaining social bonds, preservation of solidarity of the group Case study: Glen Ridge Group of teenage boys lured a mentally disabled women, raped her in Glen Ridge, New Jersey Members of the community ostracized the girl; boys got miniscule sentences How do you explain this? Why did members of the community defend the rapists? Sociologist blamed the entire community for the rape, adhered to values that were exaggerated Community Values in Glen Ridge Subordination of women Lack of compassion for the weak Tolerance of male misconduct Intense group loyalty Raised to view women as subordinates, engaged in male misconduct (parents always paid for damage, rationalized this by saying that “boys will be boys,” were also football heroes of the town – this reinforced group solidarity) However, one boy was able to speak out against the group: Charles was able to deviate from the group because he was black, tolerated because of his athletic ability Able to rise above the group norms, spoke out because they were doing something wrong Structures of Authority: Structures of authority tend to render people obedient Most people find it difficult to disobey authorities because they fear ridicule, ostracism Stanley Milgram: informed his experimental subjects that they were going to observe people taking a test, and if they got wrong answers they would be given an electric shock (would this improve their ability to learn?) Test subjects told to administer a shock for a man’s wrong answer Whether or not people were prepared to administer shocks to individuals (were able to leave at any time) Mailgram would reassure them it wouldn’t hurt if they administered a greater level of shock, even if the actor appeared to be in great pain Obedience to authority increases with separation from the negative effects of one’s actions *Milgram’s experiment supports the view that separating people from the negative effects of their actions increases the likelihood compliance. People willing to obey the structure authority Tells us something important about how people react to authority McDonald’s Documentary Clip Employees strip-searched by managers; told to do so by someone who posed as a police officer (managers were given instructions over the phone) What does this teach us? As soon as we are introduced to a structural authority, we often comply. Bureaucracies: A large, impersonal organization composed of many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. It has a permanent, salaried staff of qualified experts and written goals, rules, and procedures. Staff members always try to find ways of running their organization more efficiently. Efficiency means achieving the bureaucracy’s goals at the least cost. Social organizations called
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