September 27, 2014
Analysis of “Quiet Rage”
The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted at Stanford University from August 14–20, 1971, by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo. Twenty-four male students across the country out of seventy-five were carefully chosen to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The basement of the building was altered to seem as if it were an actual prison. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond Zimbardo's expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and initially subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, at the request of the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who endeavored to prevent it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his role as the superintendent, permitted the abuse to endure. Two of the prisoners vacated the experiment early and the entire experiment was abruptly culminated after only six days granting it was planned to proceed two weeks.
Symbolic interactionism is a major framework of sociological theory. This perspective relies on the symbolic meaning that people develop and rely upon in the process of social interaction. Symbolic interaction theory analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on objects, events, and behaviors. Subjective meanings are given primacy because it is believed that people behave based on what they believe and not just on what is objectively true. Thus, society is thought to be socially constructed through human interpretation. People interpret one another’s behavior and it is these interpretations that form the social bond. In the...
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