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David Kaposi: Beyond Milgram: Towards a Theory of Implicit Violence

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This talk was recorded and presented for the launch of the OPRC, Opening Psychology for Changing Times in Summer 2021.

Stanley Milgram’s notorious experiments on “obedience to authority” have for six decades posed a riddle for us. In this talk, Dr David Kaposi seeks to find the key to them by focusing on the smallest of phrases used by the experimenter: “Please continue?” The seemingly innocuous phrase has been used vastly more frequently and successful than anything else Milgram’s experimenter uttered. How so? Dr Kaposi will demonstrate its power residing in implicit violence: an assault on human agency that nonetheless cannot be recognised as such.

Key Readings:

Kaposi, David (2020). Saving a victim from himself: the rhetoric of the learner’s presence and absence in the Milgram experiments. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(4) pp. 900–921.

Kaposi, David (2017). The resistance experiments: Morality, authority and obedience in Stanley Milgram's account. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 47(4) pp. 382–401.