judiciary organization, function and power

Explain judiciary and the rule of law, organization of judiciary, its function and power.

The Judiciary:

Judiciary is the third organ of the government which is responsible for the administration of justice according, to the law of the .land enacted by the executive and made by the legislature. The concept of the welfare state is directly linked with social justice with impartiality and expeditiousness. An efficient judiciary is necessary for a good governance as it protects the individual rights of people in their public life. An efficient administration of justice maximizes the responsibility of a citizen in a state. It there is no effective judicial system, then there will he no law at all and the principle of “Might is right” will prevail. Severity of punishment does not but certainty of punishment does compel the offenders to abide by law. In ancient times, the executive and judicial function were combined in the monarch and he was considered as the fountain head to justice, but the overall result of this concept was absolute tyranny. Today’s modern and welfare state is conceivable only with the separation, independence and impartiality the judicial system so that it may protect the citizens from the excesses of the executive Judiciary is entrusted with the function of doing justice to all in the light of the universal principles of justice with equal protection to everyone and equal penalty for all those w m violate it. Punishment protest society from criminals. Historically, the status of judiciary has always been very high even .in tribal societies. Social structure of a society cannot be maintained without peace and harmony which is possible only with the enforcement of rule of law. An ideal social order is impossible without an independent impartial judiciary which guarantees equal protection of law to all. Excellent judicial performance and is dependent on good and equitable laws made by legislature and interpreted by an hone x and impartial judiciary. In democratic states, judiciary protects citizens’ rights and freedoms. It interprets laws and written constitutions and also plays an advisory role to the executive. In this way, it makes case laws in the form of judicial precedents and fills illegal flaws by interpretation. In dictatorships, the independence of judiciary is shackled and it only legalizes the orders of the autocratic rulers.

Read more about: Salient Feature of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan

The Rule of Law:

The Rule of Law is a very important legal principle universally recognised by all modern democratic states which declares the supremacy of law and equality before law amongst the citizens of a state. It guarantee the right to be dealt in accordance with common laws of the land by providing a chance of fair trial by proper hearing and rights of defence in a court of law as well as the right to appeal. No arbitrary action of any authority should infringe upon the inherent rights of the citizens. The dictates of law should be followed rather than the will of the government or if some individual ruler. The concept of public interest and state interest is subject to this fundamental principle of common law. Any excesses done by the state functionaries are subject to the scrutiny by the courts of law. This controls the arbitrary attitude and behaviour of the government officials and provides a system of checks and balances by making them responsible and answerable before the ordinary courts of law. It ensures liberty and security to all citizens of a state on the basis of legal equality irrespective of their social status. Though the rule of Law is a fundamental principle of English Constitution and law, it also provides and fulfills the requirements of natural justice according to universal human values. The true spirit of democracy may only be demonstrated by the actual application of this principle everywhere in the world. The general will of the people can prevail only in the presence of such a principle of natural justice. If otherwise, it will be tempered and biased and reflect only the opinion of a particular class of people.

“The Rule of Law” A.V. Dicey gave there different meanings to this term in his book namely “The Law of the Constitution” which are as under:-

–        “It means, in the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even of wide discretionary authority on the part of government. Englishmen are ruled by the law and by the law alone; a man may, be punished for a breach of the law, but he can be punished for nothing else.”

“It means, again, equality before the law, or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law courts.”

‘The Rule of Law’, lastly may he used as a formula for expressing the fact that with us the law of the constitution, the rules which in foreign country naturally form part of the constitutional code, are not the sources, but the consequences of the rights of individuals, as defined and enforced by the courts, It means the main principles of the constitution such as the right

of personal liberty or of public meeting, have been set up on the foundation : the old common law and not as thing derived from any general constitutions theory.”

A deep study of explanation of the Rule of Law reveals how influenced the English constitution which is based on common principles of law and the judicial decisions during the passage of time.

–        The Rule of Law has its limitations as well. With the gradual progress t democratic system of government and with the ever increasing state intervention in individual life in the present day changed socio-political environment, application of that rule of law has been restricted. The skeleton legislation by the parliaments or legislature has to some extent, manipulated the rule of law negatively, because minute details of that law fall within the discretionary power of the executive or administration. However, on violation of the rule of law is not possible even through discretionary powers or delegate legislation. During the implementation state, the administrative authorities make decision without following the Rule of Law and the procedure prescribed for judicial decisions although they make judicial decisions but without interviewing or according, hearing t the party concerned while their decisions have judicial authority. At times even the right to appeal is not granted. Some immunities and special privileges granted to authoritic as well as active restrictions imposed against challenging some illegal actions, have all impaired the validity of the rule of law. Penalty on citizens if they fait to prove ill w 1 on the part of a public authority or prohibition on discussion of the conduct of judges arc relevant examples in this regard. Social and economic barriers also stand in the way f equal access to the courts of law. The result is non-redressal of poor people’s grievance- as due to their poverty they cannot pay heavy fees of legal experts and advise^. Administrative Courts in some democratic stats which try their state functionaries and public authorities for breach of law on their part, are also deviation from the rule out as the same provide a separate system of legal trial.

Organization of the Judiciary:

Organization of the judiciary is different in different states according to judicial requirements of each state. The structure of judiciary is very vast in each state consisting of a network of courts with differing jurisdictions and judicial powers to administer justice for common people. Judicial is totally separate and independent in some states while in some other it is combined to some extent with the executive. In federal state „ there are two structures i.e. one for the federation or the central government and the other for the units or provinces, such as the U.S. judicial system. However, judicial systems ordinarily differ in parliamentary and presidential forms of government as well as in federal and unitary systems; hut still there are limited similarities indifferent systems. Mostly judicial organisations and structures are different in different countries with basic variations but the functions of the judicial organisation are similar in all states except the former USSR. Nowhere judicial organisation is final but it is subject to change by statutory provisions for reforming the systems from time to time. The British judicial system is based on customary law generally known as the English Common Law, consisting of common law, statute law, equality and case law: but recently a new source of law, namely the community law based on common laws for the entire European Community has been added. American judicial organisation is unique in nature and is the first ever federal judicial system, based on the principles of separation of powers, judicial supremacy and judicial review. In America, there are two establishments of the judicial system i.e. Federal Courts and State Courts; but constitutionally the federal courts are superior to state courts. In Pakistan, there is single judicial organisation despite federal system of government. The judicial systems adhere to similar principles for their organizations in the modern world. There systems are based on lower courts or the courts of first instance- at the bottom with limited powers and jurisdiction but the courts of appeal or high and supreme courts at the top with exclusive jurisdiction to decide all matters at appellate level and of constitutional nature. The courts of the following types are found in different systems:

–       Civil Courts;

–         Criminal Courts;

–        Special Courts;

–         Administrative Courts

Civil Courts are those courts which deal with litigation in civil matters i.e. when civil rights of a citizen are infringed upon by another citizen or sometimes the state. But in criminal cases, the cause of action arises from the breach or violation of state laws by individual or a body of individuals e.g. breach of peace, violence against life or property of a person etc. At lower level civil cases are tried by civil judges or other judges but criminal cases are tried by Magistrates or criminal courts of first instance. But appellate and final courts have jurisdictions in both civil and criminal cases.

Special courts are established for special and particular matters which are excluded from ordinary courts. In some cases they follow a different procedure. These special courts are generally set up for military, industrial sector, taxation, labour, customs and excise etc.

Administrative Courts are also special courts in nature which are established for trial of public servants and state functionaries according to special administrative laws. Courts are also classified as Constitutional and Legislative courts. Constitutional courts are generally established in such states whose systems are governed by written constitutions providing for the creation of such courts with particular jurisdiction and powers e.g. American Supreme Court and’ Supreme and High Courts of Pakistan etc. These courts have powers to interpret constitutions. Legislative Courts are the creation of various statutes/ acts of legislatures. These courts are completely regulated by legislative and statutory provisions.

Functions and Powers of the Judiciary:

The main purpose of the judicial organization is the administration of justice, and settlement of disputes either between citizens/individuals or between citizens and state. It fulfills the requirements of justice by open, impartial and fair trial of the persons accused under various charges. Courts sort out and investigate the facts and punish those persons who have violated the state laws and also declare and determine the rights in civil matters. In modern states, courts perform numerous functions but their important functions and powers are as under:-

–                  Administration of justice;

–                  Settlement of disputes;

–              Interpretation of Constitution and statutes;

–                 Judicial Reviews;

–                  Advisory Jurisdiction;

–                  Preventive justice

–                  Safeguarding fundamental rights;

–                  Administrative Functions;

–                  Misc. and non-judicial functions.

The first and foremost function of the judiciary is to administer justice in the state because “There is no better test of the excellence of a government than the efficiency of its judicial system, for nothing more nearly touches the welfare and security of the average citizen.” as written by Lord Bryce. Thus Administration of justice is the basic duty of the judicial organization and without it chaos will be the over all result. Judiciary settles disputes between individuals as well as between individuals and the state according to the state laws. It protects the innocent from usurpers and evil elements through process of laws. In cases of ambiguity and authority flaws, the judiciary interprets laws according to the intentions of the law-makers by fair and equitable use of discretion in interpretation. These are judicial precedents commonly known as judge-made laws or case-laws which have the force of law for all subordinate courts. Interpretation of constitutions in case of written constitutions is also an important function of the judiciary which decides disputes of constitutional nature. Judicial review is the power judiciary had acquired through constitutional interpretations while implementing constitutional provisions. The judiciary controls the legislature and the executive through judicial review and declares ultra vires and unconstitutional such orders and laws which are considered beyond constitutional limits. Advisory jurisdiction is also provided in some constitutions for the smooth running of administrative affairs by consulting the supreme courts for guidance of the executive on points of law in cases of ambiguity. Preventive justice is beneficial to the citizens in cases of threat of breach of law and violations of rights. Courts may issue directions on writs and record restraining orders or injunctions where necessary and desirable. In modern constitutions, judiciary is the guardian and guarantor of fundamental rights of citizens against personal or state excessed or against any other threat to these rights. It also performs miscellaneous functions of judicial and non-judicial nature which are not clearly defined, such as appointments of receivers, guardians and administrators etc.

Administrative affairs of judicial departments” are also controlled by the superior courts. The terms and conditions of service, appointments, cases of misconduct and corruption and removal from service of subordinate judicial officers and magistrates are also handled by judiciary itself. Such administrative control protects the subordinate judiciary from the interference and influence of the executive & thus secures its independence and separation. In Pakistan, provincial High Courts are responsible for such Administrative functions.

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Salient Feature of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan

Discuss the salient features of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.

Salient Feature of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan:

The present Constitution is the third constitution of the country which was drafted and passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on April 10, 1973. It was authenticated by the president on April 12, 1973 and enforced on August 14, 1973. Following are the main characteristics of this constitution.

1)    A Written Constitution

The Constitution of 1973 is written with a preamble, 280 Article, 6 Schedules and a few Amendments. Political Usage’s and Traditions are yet to emerge and develop side by side with the constitution of Pakistan.

2)    Flexibility

The Constitution is neither too rigid like the American Constitution nor too flexible like the British Constitution. It can he amended if 2/3 majority of the total strength of the National Assembly approves an amendment in it and when the same is absented to by the Senate with majority of its total strength.

3)    Republican Form of Government

According to the Constitution, Pakistan shall be an Islamic Republic. The Head of the State shall be elected by the parliament in a joint sitting for a term of five years. He may be re-elected for another term also.

4)    Federal Form of Government

Pakistan shall be a Federation consisting of the provinces of Sind, Punjab, N.W.F.P and Baluchistan. Powers of the Federation have been enumerated in the Federal Legislative list part-I and II and residuary powers belong to the provinces Powers common to both the federal and the provincial Governments have been enumerated in the Concurrent List.

5)    Parliamentary Form of Government

The Constitution provides for Parliamentary form of Government both at the centre and in the provinces. Both the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers are held responsible to the National and Provincial Assemblies. They continue in office as long as they command confidence of the assemblies.

They may be removed by the assemblies through a vote of No-Confidence.

6)    Bicameral Legislature

The Legislature will Bicameral. The Lower House is called the National Assembly directly elected by the people on the basis of one man one vote for a term of 5 years. The upper House is called the Senate elected by the Provincial Assemblies on the basis of Proportional Representation. The National Assembly is subject to dissolution but not the Senate.

 

7)    Fundamental Rights

The Constitution grants and protects the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan. They include the right to life, property, profession, liberty of thought and expression, freedom of association, religion, equality of citizens etc. In case of their violation, the affected person may go to the Courts for seeking redress of his grievances.

8)    Pakistan to be a Welfare State

The Constitution reflects the spirit of a Welfare State. It provides that •illiteracy shall be removed; educational and economic interests of backward classes and areas shall be promoted; just and human conditions of work shall be provided; prostitution, gambling and consumption of alcoholic liquor shall be prohibited and well-being of the people, irrespective of caste, sex, creed or race will be secured by raising their standard of living. Basic necessities of life like food, housing, clothing, education, and medical relief shall be provided to the citizens who are permanently or temporarily unable to earn their livelihood.

9)    Independence of Judiciary

Although the members of the judiciary are appointed by the president yet the powers to remove them from their offices have not been given to him for ensuring independence of judiciary. The judges can be removed by the president only when the Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan so advises him. The Constitution also provides independence of the judiciary from the Executive.

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Types and Examples of Collective Behaviour

What is collective behaviour? Discuss different types and examples of collective behaviour. Also narrate theoretical approaches to the study of collective behaviour.

Collective Behaviour:

Collective behaviour has been generally applied to these events and refers to group behaviour which originates spontaneously, is entirely unorganized, fairly unpredictable and planless in course of development, and which depends on interstimulation among participants. Examples of collective behaviour include panics, revolutions, riots, lynching, manias, crazes, and fads.

Traditional approaches to the study of collective behaviour have emphasized the importance of emotion, suggestibility and irrationality in the understanding of collective episodes.

Types and Examples of Collective Behaviour

The term collective behaviour has been applied to a broad range of group activities ranging from a rather spontaneous and short lived actions of a crowd to the more organized, structured and long-term experiences of a major social movement.

–                   The Crowd

We attend the theatre and game events with a large number of people. We join the political demonstration to change the direction of domestic and foreign policy. Each of these actions could be viewed as crowd behaviour. Crowd refers to a highly diverse conditions of human assemblage: audience, mob, rally and panic all fall within the definition of crowd. Roger Brown (1954) classifies crowds as either active or passive. Passive crowds are given the label audience and can be either casual (a group pausing on a street corner to observe some stimulus event) or international (spectators at an athletic event) in nature. Active crowds are called mob and include aggressive collectivities, such as riots and fynch mobs, panics of escape and acquisition, and expressive crowds.

 

–                   Communication in the Crowd: Rumours

Most analysts of the crowd behaviour argue that the dispersal of information through rumours is one of the most important and significant processes underlying the whole phenomenon. When a mass of individuals joins together in a common course of action, such as riot, panic, or lynching, they must usually develop something approximating a common definition of the situation. The development of this common definition often occurs through the rumour-dissemination process.

Turner and Killian (1972) have noted that rumour is the characteristic mode of communication in collective-behaviour episodes. It is the mechanism by which meaning is applied to what is otherwise likely to be an ambiguous situation. Thus, rumours play an important problem solving role and allow the people to deal with the complexities and uncertainties of life by providing meaning and structure. Rumours are most likely to develop in situations that are characterized by both ambiguity and stress. Stress increases the immediacy of need for meaning, thus, when our personal welfare appears to be threatened in some way and there is no clear definition of what is happening or why, rumours are likely to run rampant. Rumours are generally passed by word of mouth from one person to another. When large groups of people are coming together, the speed of the transmission is greatly facilitated. These rumours are completely distorted in the process of transmission. They play a critical role in most episodes of collective behaviour. Through providing meanings in situations of ambiguity and stress, they provide an orientation for the potential actors by helping them develop a common definition of the situation. This aids in the mobilization of the participants for action by identifying a target on a riot or lynching, by attributing cause for problems and failure, and by defining what would be an appropriate course of action. Rumours are an important mechanism of information transmission in most societies and their significance is increased dramatically during stress and crisis.

–                   The Role of Leadership in Crowd

The acceleration of activity in many collective behaviours is attributed to the actions of the leader. This emergent leadership acts first what the others will do subsequently. This leadership is emergent and is not selected according to the traditional practice. The leadership emerges out of the course of group interaction and often disappears back into the crowd after the action has run its course. The development of leadership in major social movements is the exception. Many of the important political leaders achieved world recognition through their emergence as leaders of social movements. Examples include Ghandi, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung, Imam Khomieni and many others. Conventional leadership follows conventional norms and leadership in a mob is engaging in the violation of conventional norms and they are the persons for whom norms are the weakest. The critical importance of leadership in most collective behaviour occurrences can best be summarized by reviewing the roles the leader plays. First, the leader builds and increases the emotional tensions of the groups. Second, the leader suggests a course of action that will relieve the built-up emotions.

Finally, the leader justifies the specified course of action as being “right”. This is the final stage for hesitant, timid and more rational people to be converted into collective behaviour. It is true that in most collective behaviour-episodes, things are not always as they seem. Marx (1974) notes that some activitists and even some leaders of social movements are actually “agent provocateurs” or informers planted by an authority to create internal crisis.

–                  Panic as a Type of Collective Behaviour

Panics tend to emerge from crowd situation such as fire in a cinema hall, hotel etc., but in some situations it emerges inspite of physical and psychological distance of the people involved in the panic. For example, economic panic can occur among persons who are widely dispersed if they come to apply a similar set of definitions to a common situation. Some stimulus is required to prompt the action of the dispersed participants, such as radio or television report (see Norms and Social Influence, unit -3 of part two). However, the presence of crowd facilitates reaction. In the simplest sense, panics involve competition for something in short supply. This may be economic resources, products or social status. Economic panics occur when money or some other commodity is believed to be on short supply and may result in such behaviours as a run on a bank or a selling run on a stock exchange. Other panics may occur when groups of people believe that there are insufficient escape routes in a dangerous situation, such as when a building is on fire. According to research, ambiguity about the degree of danger and the probability of escape increase the probability of panic behaviour. From From the study of experimental literature Fitz and Williams (1957) conclude that panics are most likely to occur when the following conditions exist:

  1. Individuals perceive an immediate and severe danger to life, financial security, social status and so on.
  2. People believe that there is a limited escape route or any other applicable form of “short supply”. If there were a large number of escape routes that would easily accommodate all those in need, there would be no need for competition and, hence, panic.
  3. People believe that the existing routes are closing, so that if one does not get out in a hurry, there will be no escape at all. If the escape routes are not closing, there should be ample time for everyone to make an escape, and panic will not be likely to occur.
  4. There is a lack of information or the existing communication channels are unable to keep everyone adequately informed on the issue. This leads to ambiguity and greater urgency in the situation.

 

Fashions and Fads

 

These types tend to be more trivial in terms of their total impact on individual lives, but they are also included under the umbrella of collective behaviour. Unlike many collective episodes, which tend to be “crowd” phenomena, fads and fashions do not depend upon the physical proximity of participants and can affect the behaviour of individuals in widely dispersed circumstances. A fad can be defined as some short-lived variation in pattern of speech, behaviour, or decoration. For example, music of air wolf (a PTV programme at time), phrases from drama and film, etc. Its occurances are quite unpredictable, but its life can be expected to be short. Fashions tend to be longer-live than fads. However, fashions is a process, which means that it is a continuing state of change. Hemline length, lapel width, hair lengths, the style of eyeglashes are the examples.

Traditionally, it has been assumed that fashions were introduced by people of high social status and that they then filter downward. In many instances, this is true, but the filtering goes in the other direction as well. For example, some contemporary style of dress, shoes, and foods originated in the lower social classes and then filtered upward.

Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Collective Behaviour

 

The major theoretical orientations of collective behaviour have been summarized under the headings of contagion, convergence, emergent norms theories, and sociological theory of Smelser.

Contagion Theory

Theories of collective behaviour based on contagion “explain collective on the basis of some process whereby moods, attitudes, and behaviours are communicated rapidly and accepted uncritically”. Contagion theory grows out of the classic work of LeBon (1896) who sought to understand how groups of individuals could come to present characteristics that were both different and unpredictable from the characteristics of the individuals composing the group. His explanation came to be referred to as the “law of the mental unity of crowd”. This proposed that under the right set of circumstances, the sentiments and ideas of all persons in a group would take one and the same direction, and individual initiative and personality would vanish. In such circumstances, the behaviour that resulted would be unique to the group setting in that one could not predict its occurrence simply on the study of the individuals comprising the group.

Contagion theory relies heavily on such idea as stimulus-response and emotional contagion. Supposedly, as a crowd mores around and interacts, emotions are transmitted quickly from one individual to the other, and each individual becomes transformed as he comes more and more under the influence of the group. This transformation is facilitated through “circular reaction” or “a type of interstimulation” whereby one individual reproduces the stimulation that has come from another and when reflected back to this individual, reinforces the original stimulation.

–                  Convergence Theory

According to contagion theory, the individual in a crown situation loses himself/ herself to the emotions of the crowd and does something that could not be predicted on the basis of individual characteristics. Convergence theory, on the other hand, argues that participants, particularly in violent collective episodes, were already predisposed to engage in such actions — the crowd simply offers them the excuse. Thus, collective behaviour is explained on the basis of simultaneous presence of a number of people who share the same predispositions, which are activated by the event or object toward which their common attention is directed.

According to convergence theory, the presence of the crowd is not the casual factor n collective outburst. Rather, it simply provides an excuse for people to do what they were already predisposed to do anyway. Allport argues, nothing new is added by the crowd situation “except an intensification of the feeling already present, and the possibility of concerted action”.

–                 Emergent-Norm Theory

The emergent-norm approach as initially developed by Turner and Killian (1957) argues that observers of collective-behaviour episodes have tended to get so caught up i the emotion of the situation that they fail to make important observations of what actually is happening. Thus, they fail to notice the definitional process that is often securing. “The shared conviction of right, which constitutes a norm, sanctions behaviour consistent with the norm, inhibits behaviour contrary to it, justifies proselyting, and requires restraining action against those who dissent. Because the behaviour in the crowd is different either in degree or kind from that in non-crowd situations, the norms must be specific to the situation to some degree-hence the emergence norm. Bystanders, influenced by the emotion of the situation, often fail to observe this process.

Emergence-norm theory differs in several important respects from the other two approaches. For example, rather than attributing crowd action to the “spontaneous induction of emotion”, greater emphasis is placed on group conformity through the imposition of a social norm. The crowd suppresses incongruous feelings and actions of its members and provides direction and meaning. In addition, limits on the direction and degree of crowd action are more readily explainable by emergent-norm theory than by the other two. The crowd defines certain behaviours as appropriate to the situation, but other behaviour may remain defined as inappropriate. The individual who goes beyond the limits is often chastised and sanctioned.

Smelser’s Valued-Added Theory

Smelser combines ideas from economic with the work of sociologists in developing “value-added” theory. Smelser’s theory seeks to provide answers to two basic questions: (i) what are the factors that determine whether or not a collective-behaviour episode will occur? and (ii) what determines whether one type (for example, panic as opposed to a riot) rather then another will occur? Value-added notion implies that the development of a collective-behaviour episode, involves a process and that each stage in that process adds its value to or influences in an important way the final outcome. More specifically, he sees six stages as necessary before collective actions of the nature discussed above will occur. These six stages occur in sequence, and ail are necessary, otherwise the developing episode will not occur, these stages include:

–       Structural Conduciveness: The concept of structural conduciveness implies conditions that are permissive of a particular sort of collective behaviour. That is, general conditions in a given society are such that they would enable or allow a particular form of collective behaviour.

–        Structural Strain: More specifically, structural strain refers to certain aspects of a system such as economic competition, unequal distribution of wealth, and sense of economic deprivation.

–        The Growth and Spread of a Generalized Belief: The third phase involves the development among the potential participants of a generalized belief regarding the causes for the strain that exists and some means by which it may be eliminated. In other words, the developing belief that comes to be accepted by members of the group identifies the source of the strain, attributes certain agreed-upon characteristics to this source, and then makes some recommendation about how the strain can be relieved.

–        Precipitating Factor: The precipitating event is the incident or action that sets

off the collective episode. Because of conduciveness, strain, and the development of a generalized belief, the situation is now ripe for an explosion. All it needs is the spark that will set it off.

–       Mobilization of Participants for Action: Now all that is needed is for the gathered participants to mobilize. The mobilization is largely a function of two forces — leadership and communication. Before the milling and largely disorganized crowd can begin to take some coordinated action, some form of leadership must be provided. This emergent leadership then communicates direction to the crowd — for example, the target for the hostilities is defined, appropriate actions are specified, a division of labour may even be established, and so on. At this point, a full-fledged collective episode is underway.

The Operation of Social Control: Up to this point, it is argued that the factors identified must be present, otherwise the collective action will not occur. But the absence of the social control is the key to the final outcome. In other words, if social control is present, the presence of the previous five factors will be suppressed and controlled and cannot be converted into a collective-behaviour episode.

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Attitude and Behaviour

Differentiate between attitude and behaviour. How do the characteristics of Source, message and audience affect the attitude making?

 

Attitudes and Behaviour:

Social scientists have debated the relationships between attitudes and behaviour –attitude as predictor of behaviour. Two studies of Richard Lapiere and Kutner et al indicated a lack of correspondence between actual behaviour and the behaviour th; respondents verbally indicated that they would take. A careful review of the research from 1930 to 1969 led to the conclusion that attitude accounts for about to percent I variability in behaviour. Warner and DeFleur have noted that the debate has resulted i three distinct views.

The first is the postulate of consistency. It is based on the assumption that attitude can be used as reasonably valid guides for prediction of the behaviour. The second is the postulate of independent variation. It claims that there is no valid reason to assume that attitudes and behaviours should be consistently related. The third position is the postulate of contingent consistency. It combines the previous two positions. According to the postulate, behaviour appears to be influenced by the person’s attitude combined with other personality and other situational factors. An examination of the attitude/behaviour-research reveals that most of the studies were focused on attitude alone in predicting behaviour. The results indicate that attitudes by themselves are not very good predictor of behaviour. DeFleur and Westi argue that the lack of a strong relationship between verbal attitude and overt behaviour may be explained in terms of social constraints preventing the person from acting out his convictions, for example, an individual may e extremely prejudiced against smokers, but when introduced by his or her significant others, he or she responds in a gracious manner. Most contemporary researchers have been influenced by the insight and have attempted to include situational constraints in understanding attitude/behaviour relationships.

 

Characteristics of the Source, the Message, and the Audience on Attitude Making:

Howland, Janis, Kelly and many others have examined in detail issues relating to: (i) the source of the message; (ii) the characteristics and content of the message; and (iii) the characteristics of the recipients of the message in determining the nature and amount of attitude change that will be generated.

Characteristics of the Communicator/Source

Most of us would probably respond more favourably to arguments given by expert on the topic concerned. Researchers have gathered considerable evidence that we are more influenced by an expert than we are by a layman. If someone or some entity is defined as an expert, we almost automatically assume that he or she is a source of valid and correct arguments. However, expertise is issue-specific. The economist who know about the economic policy of the country may know little about the religion. Different experts can disagree about the relative merit of various courses of action. For example, there are probably equal number of arguments on both sides of the debate of adopting small family norms or these of iodized salt. Economists and doctors present credentials to convince the people to adopt such behaviour while religious leaders oppose the issue on religious grounds. In such cases, the public tends to opt for the status quo rather than trying to choose between expert sources.

Another important characteristic of the communicator is his trustworthiness. If we can trust a communicator, we are more likely to be influenced by that source. Other communicator characteristics that influence our attitude are power, attraction, likeahleness, and similarity. We are more likely to be influenced by source who has power. Because the communicator has the power to impose sanctions if we fail to comply with the request. To effectively bring about change, the powerful source must also be visible or have the ability to monitor the degree of compliance. An attractive and likeable communicator will have more effect on an audience than will one who is disliked and unattractive. The salesperson who dresses neatly and is pleasant is much more likely to change the attitude and make the sale than one who is nasty and unattractive. Similarity may operate in much the same fashion. For example a housewife depicted in a commercial who hates to clean dishes can he identified with other housewives who similarly despise that particular job. If she has found a product what can easily clean the dishes then the same product will work for others as well.

Characteristics of the Message

Regarding the message, there are two major issues: (i) the use of fear-arousing as apposed to more rational or less emotional appeal; (ii) the content or organization of the message itself.

–        Fear-arousing appeal:

Many messages have been based on the assumption that if sufficient fear is aroused in an audience, they will be convinced to choose the course of action advocated by the message. An appeal that causes much fear does arouse more worry, concern, and fright in an audience, but this is less likely to be translated into attitude and behaviour change than are appeals that elicit less fear and more thought. Apparently too much fear can cause us to “turn of ” the message and to react unfavourable to it. Highly fear arousing appeals may be so distracting that it is difficult for the audience to attend to what is being said. Many researchers have found that if an immediate response is necessary, and if the subject has low self-esteem, highly fear-arousing appeals are more effective.

–        Organization of the Message:

Extensive research has been conduced on the issues that (a) whether persuasive message should present on one or both sides of the arguments, (b) whether message should draw a conclusion or leave it up to the audience. Researchers concluded that it depends upon several other factors in addition to that of message organization. For example, evidence concerning whether to present only one side of an argument or to recognize the arguments of the opponents as well suggests that it depends upon the characteristics of the audience. If the audience is well-informed and already know the counter arguments, then the speaker will have more impact if he or she recognizes those counter arguments and should answer them if possible. If the audience is not well-informed, presenting both sides arguments will confuse the audience.

Research evidence suggests that if the issue is more complicated then the speaker should draw the conclusion and vice versa.

Characteristics of the Audience:

Certain personal and group characteristics of the individual must be assessed to evaluate the effectiveness of communication.

–        Personality Factors:

There is no research evidence that indicates that some people are rigid and some are more susceptible toward attitude change efforts. But in general, people who have had a history of success are less likely to be amenable to persuasive appeals. Successful individuals are more self-confident and less reliant on others than are those who have a history of failure. Persons who have aggressive personalities are also less likely to respond to efforts to change their attitudes. A person who is absolutely convinced of the Tightness of his or her opinion is not likely to respond favourably to efforts to change that attitude.

–         Group Factors:

Communication appeals are usually filtered through the various group membership and opinion leaders that play an interpretative role for us. Research showed that most voters do not respond directly to appeals made by politicians. Rather, they interpret and evaluate these appeals in terms of religious groups, labour unions, baradarism, provincialism, khanism, vaderaism and so on. When the group ties have been broken they are more amenable to persuasive appeals.

 

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Norms, Conformity & Social Learning Approach

Write a comprehensive note on the following:                         

       i)     Norms          ii)    Conformity     iii)   Social Learning Approach

 

i)             Norms

Wrightman has proposed that conscience operates, when each individual is working on his or her own, but when the person functions in “organizational mode” one’s individual conscience is no longer relevant. Such persons are operating in an agential state, or a condition in which the person sees himself or herself as an agent for carrying out another person’s wishes, in contrast to a state of autonomy, or acting on one’s own.

According to social-psychological research, the presence of others, “whether in immediate sense or in the actor’s psychological definition of the situation” (Warner and DeFleur, 1969), exerts influence on the individual to act in a manner that is consistent with what those others are perceived to feel is appropriate and desirable conduct. According to this research it was noted that behaviour in group tends to differ from behaviour that occurs in private settings.

The idea of social influence or of conforming to the expectations of the group implies the existence of some standard around which our attitudes and behaviour cluster. That standard is most often socially defined and so can be referred to as a social norm. Social norms constitute “ought to” definition; they define for us the behaviours and attitudes that are appropriate for given situations; they tell us what we ought to do and, conversely, what we ought not to do. From a sociological perspective, norms constitute one of the essential ingredients that hold the fabric of society together. Alongwith attending sanctions, they account largely for the existence of social order. Without some degree of adherence to normative prescriptions, social life would be characterized by general disorganization and chaos. From a social psychological perspective adherence of social norms helps to account for the regularities in individual behaviour. As the individuals ^row to maturity, they are taught to socialization process that certain types of behaviour are appropriate and others are inappropriate and unacceptable. Sanctions, in the form of approval, praise, scorn, or punishment, are used to enforce the norms. Behaviour that is consistent with social norms brings approval from others, and this increases the portability of such behaviour occurring again. Behaviour contrary to norms, on the other hand, usually elicits disapproval or some other form of negative sanction, decreasing the probability that similar behaviour will be repeated.

The Origin of Social Norms:

Summer proposed that much of our daily action is governed by folkways or relatively informal traditions and customs that are passed from one generation to the next. The best explanation of norms lies in the observation that norms emerge to provide meaning and structure in what would otherwise be an ambiguous situation. New norms emerge to fill the gaps left by the ambiguity or the inapplicability of existing norms. Some degree of consensus on the new norms is necessary; otherwise, the outcome is likely to be anarchy and destruction. The emergence of new norms in response to ambiguity is illustrated by the research conducted by Muzafer Sharif who employed autokinetic effect in studying the process of norms formation. In one of his experiments, Sharif brought a group of subjects into a dark room to observe a totally stationary light, and asked them to estimate how far the light moved. Sharif was very successful in creating a situation totally ambiguous in a physical sense because there were no criteria available for the subjects to use in estimating movement of the light. After a series of trials, Sharif began to observe a most interesting social-psychological phenomenon: the range of estimate by his respondents began to converge toward the mean. For example, after the first trial, the . range of estimated movement varied from two or three inches to several times that amount. After additional trials, the more extreme estimate tended to become less extreme, therefore moving toward the mean. Eventually the group came of establish a “norm” or a generally agreed-upon estimate of light movement. In other words, a social norm developed to provide meaning to an ambiguous situation. There are two sources of information to determine the validity of our opinions and actions— physical reality and social reality (Second and Backman, 1974). We obtain information from the physical environment and our opinion and behaviour are determined on the basis of this physical reality. Social reality is the evaluation and judgement of others and is an important source of information. People define and interpret our world for us and we look to the response of others before taking actions ourselves. The key seems to be that the more ambiguous the physical stimuli, the more likely we are to rely on social definition of reality. The most interesting example in this regard is the science fiction tale of the invasion of the Eastern United States by the aliens from outer space. The radio drama was presented in the format of on-the-scene descriptions. Thousands of listeners switched on the radio after the programme had begun. They defined the events as real and panicked. Police phone lines were clogged with incoming calls and intersections were jammed by people fleeing their homes. However, social definitions of the situation, apparently filled the gap provided by physical ambiguity. Listeners interpreted their inability to get a call a result of alien destruction of communication line. In the heat of panic, the same definition could apparently be applied to different conditions. For example, some people rushed to the window and saw a great deal of traffic, which they defined as a result of large number of people fleeing before their attackers. Some others defined no traffic that all people have been killed by the invaders.

ii)           Conformity:

Conformity is to be defined as yielding to group expectations or definitions of the situation. It implies some degree of conflict between what the group demands of the individual and what the individual would otherwise do. There are different types of conformity.

  1. Individuals living in traditional-directed societies rely primarily on standards handed down from the past. These individuals rely on elder-imposed sanctions.

2.   Inner-directed societies are characterized by individuals who rely on a set of internalized norms to govern their behaviour. These societies rely on self-imposed sanctions.

3.       The third type of conformity is the other-directed in which person continually looks to others for directives concerning appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. This is the person who goes along with the crowd in order to be popular and feel accepted. Even this behaviour is contrary to his or her own personal norms and values. In this case, behaviour fluctuates as the situation and the evidence change. Although we all conform, and conformity to a degree is necessary in order to avoid caos, the other directed person carries it too far.

iii)    Social Learning Approach

Social learning approach is a perspective that states that people learn within a social context. It is facilitated through concepts such as modeling and observational learning.

According to this approach sex-typed behaviour is seen as a consequence of the rewards and punishments that a child experiences as he or she engages in various behaviours. This approach assumes that a male child will be rewarded for engaging in behaviour characteristics of male children and punishment for doing what girls do and vice versa in the case of girls. Boys are given gun, motorcycle, and car etc, to play with, and girls are given dolls and pottery. Gradually, the child learns to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour and then generalizes it. The social-learning model also esplains a second process of observational learning. It is generally acknowledged that a child learns many things by merely observing the role model (parents or peers) engaging in behaviour. The child need not be rewarded or punished but through observational learning he or she comes to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate sex-typed behaviour. A daughter learns the requisite feminine behaviour by observing her mother in the kitchen. Thus, when the child plays at making bread, her this behaviour is associated with her mother’s feminine behaviour of making bread.

An important factor of Bandura’s social learning theory is the emphasis on reciprocal determinism. This notion states that an individual’s behaviour is influenced by the environment and characteristics of the person. In other words, a person’s behaviour, environment, and personal qualities all reciprocally influence each other.[3] Bandura proposed that the modeling process involves several steps:[3]

1.       Attention – in order for an individual to learn something, they must pay attention to the features of the modeled behaviour.

2.       Retention – humans need to be able to remember details of the behaviour in order to learn and later reproduce the behaviour.

3.       Reproduction – in reproducing a behavior, an individual must organize his or her responses in accordance with the model behavior. This ability can improve with practice.

4.       Motivation – there must be an incentive or motivation driving the individual’s reproduction of the behaviour. Even if all of the above factors are present, the person will not engage in the behaviour without motivation.

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Socialization & Theories of the Process of Socialization

Elaborate the process of Socialization. Also comment on major theories of the process of Socialization.

Socialization:

–                  Definition

Socialization has Traditionally been the study of the process by which a human organism becomes a social being concerned with the rights and duties of self and others, with ethical and unethical behaviour, and so on.

Socialization is the process of social interaction through which people acquire personality and learn the way of life of their society. Socialization is the essential link between the individual and society- a link so vital that neither individual nor society could survive without it. It enables the individual to learn the norms, values, language, skills, beliefs, and other patterns of thought and action that are essential for social living. And it enables the society to reproduce itself socially as well as biologically, thus ensuring its continuity from generation to generation.

One of the most important outcomes of socialization is individual personality. In ordinary speech we use the word “personality” rather loosely to a person’s character or temperament, but sociological use of the term is both more broad and more precise. Personality refers to the fairly stable patterns of thought, feeling , and action that are typical of an individual.

Personality thus includes three main components: the cognitive component of thought, belief, perception, memory, and other intellectual capacities; the emotional component of love, hate, jealousy, sympathy, anger, pride, and other feelings; and the behavioural component of skills, aptitudes, competence, and other abilities.

Human Nature

For proper socialization process it is assumed that social order already exists. Secondly, the new unsocialized member must possess all the necessary biological endowments. Because socialization basically address normal interpersonal interaction and also assumes adequate genetic potential. It addresses the question, what is the basic nature of the human animal?

Tabula Rasa View of Socialization

Tabula Rasa framework explains that infant is considered to be born a social rather than anti-social or pro-social, in this view the individual is seen much like a lump of unmolded clay having no predisposition that would lead him/her into one type of behaviour as opposed to another. This view maintains that socialization is the result of the social pressures in a given social system. Furthermore, it believes that the organism is molded by the society rather than having a hand in his/her own social creation. This view tends the individual as being passive, only responding to stimuli imposed upon him/her own social creation. This view tends the individual as being passive, only responding to stimuli imposed upon him/her from the environment. Thus differences in socialization outcomes are attributed not so much to differences in individual characteristics but rather to differences in the nature of social order.

The Active Participant View

This view tends that individual is active in his/her socialization process and it emphasizes factors possessed by the infant at birth that influence the initial social behaviour. It believes that the child never responds to the stimuli directly but acts towards stimuli on the basis of ascribed meanings. This view claims that socialization is the interactional process between characteristics of the environment and the individual characteristics. Therefore, socialization is not just the transmission of culture but the study of process of “becoming human”.

There is a controversy namely active versus passive, or nature-verses nurture. Who or what is responsible for socialization outcomes? Tabula Rasa view concludes that whatever differences occur are largely the result of environmental influences and the social order is ultimately responsible for the outcomes. On the other hand nearly all judicial systems are based upon the view that the individual is at least partly responsible for his/her own behaviour. Otherwise, justice rewards and punishments would be irrational.

 

Theories of Socialization:

Psychoanalytic Approach

This approach to socialization presents the view that the quality of the parent/child relationship is the central element in personality development. It delineates several psychosexual stages of development, and the processes of interaction during these stages occurring in the family are seen as basic to the child’s becoming socialized. These familiar interaction patterns are analyzed according to the quality of the emotional relationship, thus, the way the mother interacts with the child while toilet training, feeding, and so on, are seen as the social foundation out of which grow different personality characteristics. The formulation of the initial nature of the human organism as it moves through the stages of development places considerable emphasis upon the source of energy, namely the Id which is present at birth. The id needs immediate gratification; therefore, the id is the strongest at the earlier stages. As the child develops other dimensions of the intellectual processes, namely the ego and the superego functions, begin to appear. The primary function of the ego is reality formation and a channeling f the energies of the id into ways that will reduce tension, built upon the nature of reality (both social and physical). The child learns that it is more realistic to postpone immediate gratification and wait until the dinner is ready, because the organism will be better off in the long run i.e. the full meal will be prepared and hence the reward much better than a hastily prepared piece of bread demanded immediately.

         Social-learning Approach

Social-learning sees the child as learning what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in any social setting because he or she is rewarded for some behaviour and not rewarded of others. Because of the child’s basic nature, he or she tends to repeat rewarded behaviours and does not repeat non-rewarded behaviours. Thus, rather than learning” general traits, the child learns which response is tied to a given stimuli. Learning, then, is seen basically as establishing links between stimuli and reinforcers. Reward and punishment are central in the stamping in or seaming out processes of connecting specific stimuli with specific reinforcers.

Symbolic-Cognitive Approach

Symbolic-interaction approach emphasizes that self and society (individual and the social order) cannot be understood as distinct entities. Society exists because of interrelated social institutions, each consisting of interrelated sets of roles. These roles define for the individual’s society’s expected behaviour for any person moving into a given role. Once the individual has move into a role and adopted as personally appropriate those behaviours ascribed by society, then it can be said he/she has become socialized. He/she can evaluate his or her own behaviour from society’s perspective and initiate behaviour toward other consonant with his or her view of self. According to this approach socialization is the outcome of the interaction between human organism and the social order. The child is progressing through related steps of development. The race of progress is determined by maturational potentials of the child as well as the characteristics of the social order. The child selectively and actively processes information according to his own stage of cognitive development.

According to Kohlberg (1973) model, there are three levels of moral development. Each level has two stages.

  1. 1.      Premoral level: (a) At stage 1, the child behaviour is primarily controlled by punishment, and behaviour centers around avoiding punishment, (b) At stage 2, the child -becomes aware of rewards and the behavour shifts to obtaining rewards. The ceiling of first level is ten years.

2 Conventional morality: It involves internationalization of expectations that others society – have of the child, (c) In stage 3, the child conforms to societal rules and norms of expectation of others, (d) During stage 4 the child internalized general standards behaviour and the sense of duty develops

3. Principled morality: (e) During stage 5, the individual behaves according to rational, agreed-upon standards but with the arguments that it should be changed, (t) In stage 6, the individual disobeys the order for the sake of justice and freedom. This approach has shown the necessity for understanding human organism as actor forming his/her own cognitive and symbolic view of the world a he/she becomes functioning member of the society.

 

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Social Psychology and Major Social Psychological Theories

Define Social Psychology. Also explain major Social psychological theories.

Social Psychology:

According to psychologist Gordon Allport, social psychology is a discipline that uses scientific methods “to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings” (1985).

Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding social behavior.

Major Social Psychological Theories:

  1. 1.   Psychoanalytic Theory

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is the founder of psychoanalytic theory. This theory assumes that every person has a given amount of vital psychic or mental energy called libido energy. The libido, the source of this psychic energy and the various channels through which it is expressed, are of utmost importance to personality development. It claims, the mind is divided into two parts, the conscious and the unconscious. The mind is like an iceberg, with the conscious part represented by the portion of the iceberg above the water. That part of the mind of which the individual is aware includes all the information that can be recalled from memory, but even so is much smaller than the unconscious. The unconscious part of the mind consists of emotions, desires, instincts, and knowledge of which the person is not aware. Yet it has an influence on individual’s behaviour.

 

 

 

  1. 2.   Social Learning Theory:

There are a large of number of theories based on the principles basic principles of social-learning theory but for our purpose we will present the basic principles of social-learning theory from which the more specific theories have been derived. Behaviourism is the traditional term used for social-learning theory. Social-learning theory argues that theories of human behaviour must be built on observable events and processes, and reject unobservable mentalistic concepts and processes such as the id, ego, repression, and so on. This theory does not deny the existence of such processes but argues that, because they are unobservable, they are useless in explaining human behaviour. Rather, relationships between observable conditions in the individual’s environment and observable behaviours are the subject matter of social-learning theory.

  1. 3.   Social exchange Theory:

Social-exchange theory is based on learning theory. This theory explains social behaviour in terms of the mutual reinforcement people exchange with each other. It explains how individuals seek to initiate exchanges with others by weighing the “profit” they would anticipate from potential changes with alternative partners. Profit is determined in light of the investment a person must have to be eligible to enter the S        exchange, the costs he or she has to pay, and the reward obtained. If investment, say education; and costs, say time expended; are high, then reward must be high for the exchange to be profitable. The basic principle of exchange theory is that behaviour performed in exchanges that have been profitable in the past will increase in frequency, and those from unprofitable exchanges will decrease. Social-exchange theory attempts to explain social behaviour and thus at times utilizes mental processes to explain the behaviour in question. The existence of a memory and the ability to recall it is inherent in the notion of a history of past reinforcement. Also, the individual’s calculation of the profit level of potential exchanges implies mental processes because possible outcomes are predicted. The heavy reliance on the established principle of learning theory, dified by the inclusion of limited mental processes, has made social-exchange theory -1ry popular as an explanation of social behaviour.

  1. 4.   Cognitive Theory

Cognitive theories of human behaviour stress mental processes, such as – rrceptions, knowledge, ideas, and expectations, as the major determinants of behaviour, “he processes of gathering information, giving it meaning, organizing it into knowledge, .ad similar mental activities are seen as the most important component of human shaviour. The un-observable nature of these mantel events has hindered the empirical isting of cognitive theories. Their existence has to be inferred from behaviours that can e measured, and such inferences are frequently difficult. A number of cognitive theories f behaviour have been developed, but w„e will limit our review to the two most widely Jiscussed theories: symbolic-interaction and cognitive-consistency theory.

  1. 5.   Symbolic-interaction Theory

This theory emerged in the early nineteenth century having roots in philosophy, psychology, and sociology. George Herbert Mead (1934) was the most influential spokesperson of this theory. The focus of the theory is upon human social interaction. Social interaction, the theory assumes, can best be understood by studying humans because people evidently possess the ability to perform the process of thinking, reasoning, and planning, which is not possessed by other animals. Thus, the theory calls attention to cognitive processes and therefore has a psychological base. The approach is likewise very sociological because one of its major concerns is to understand the cooperative dimension of human social behaviour, which was the essence of society in Mead’s view. Human cooperative behaviour is different from cooperative behaviour in animals, which is controlled by instincts. Society (cooperative behaviour) is made possible precisely because humans possess the higher mental process and therefore live in a symbolic world as well as a physical world. Unlike animals, which respond to stimuli directly, people respond to stimuli mediated by their symbolic world. The stimuli impinging upon people are given meaning through cognitive processes and then are responded to according to the attached meaning. This theory suggests that people mentally explore the possible reactions- of others to specific behaviours and use this information to decide how to act toward other people. People, unlike animals, possess the ability to experience themselves in their imaginations. Through role taking, a person places himself or herself in another person’s social role and imagines the other’s reaction to the planned course of action. For example, a person can mentally role play how a teacher, spouse, or friend would feel about a particular behaviour or act in order to decide if the behaviour will likely achieve the desired effect. If the response of the other is similar to what was anticipated, then the other’s behaviour is said to have social meaning. Out of this role taking process cooperative behaviour emerges, and society is created. The degree of consensus between anticipated and actual behaviour is usually quite high but generally is not perfect. Social interaction that always achieves total agreement between anticipated and actual responses would probably be boring however, little or no overlap would produce anarchy or chaos, and cooperation could not occur. Social interaction is ‘seen by this theory as occurring within a common definition of the situation. The role taking occurs within the context of a perceived social setting (tennis game, marriage, or school) and surrounding environment (a ground, home, or street). It assumes that even if the definition of the situation does not reflect social reality, the consequences are real for the people involved. Thus if members of a group believe that another group hates them, then the first group will probably attack the other even though in reality there is no hatred.

  1. 6.   Cognitive-Consistence Theory

Cognitions are those things that each of us uses to make sense out of our everyday worlds. It includes our perceptions — how we perceive and code events and experiences that occur around us as well as the knowledge, opinions, and beliefs, that we hold about ourselves, about our behaviour, and about our environment. The question of how these interdependent cognitive elements, organized together into larger whole has been one of the primary concerns of consistency theory. The assumption that has influenced the majority of the work in this area is that each individual attempts to establish and maintain some degree of consistency or balance among those cognitions that are related to each other. For example, if I am strongly convinced that there is a direct link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, it would be inconsistent for me to smoke cigarettes. Similarly, if I were to observe a close friend — whom I have previously attributed characteristics of honesty and morality — shoplifting, i would experience inconsistency among related cognitive elements. This theory has the belief that individuals will tend to behave in ways that minimize the internal inconsistency among their interpersonal relations, their intra-personal cognition, and their beliefs, feelings, and actions. The consistency principle holds that the individual does not attempt to behave in ways that would be consistent to his or her own observation. These theories also assume that when inconsistency occurs it is an uncomfortable state. Consequently, it creates pressure within the individual to eliminate or reduce it. Inconsistency or imbalance thus has a motivational quality and may be a major force for attitudinal or behavioural change in the individual. There are numerous areas in which cognitive-inconsistency can occur.

1.       When’ logical inconsistency exists. For example, I believe that all men are mortal but that I, a man, will live forever.

2.       When there is a conflict between actions and self-definitions or cultural mores, for example, I may consider myself a relatively mild mannered and self-controlled professor. If I hit a student in the class, I would feel some psychological imbalance because of my action and my definition of self.

3.       When there is an inconsistency between a cognition and a more encompassing cognition. For example, if I am a secular man but voted a religious political party in the elections. This behaviour would be inconsistent on my part.

4.       When inconsistency is created by conflict between present and past experiences. For example, a person who just stepped on the thumbtack with bare foot but felt no pain. The cognitive elements of stepping on tack but feeling no pain simply do not follow.

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