Sociology 1020 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: The Dilemma, Social Influence

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Sociology 1020 : week 11 - reading notes. Milgram relates extermination of jews by nazi germany to an issue of obedience. He says it could only be carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of people obeyed orders. Obedience is the psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose. The nazi extermination of european jews is the most extreme instance of abhorrent immoral acts carried out by thousands of people in the name of obedience. This is not the only time this has happened -- ordinary citizens are ordered to destroy other people, and they do so because they consider it their duty to obey orders. Hobbes stated further that an act so executed is in no sense the responsibility of the person who carries it out but only of the authority that orders it.

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