Obedience to Authority

Topics: Psychology, Milgram experiment, Social psychology Pages: 16 (5512 words) Published: August 27, 2013

1.1 Title of the Research
The title of this research is “Obedience of soldiers to authority depicted in Saving Private Ryan novel by Max Allan Collins”

1.2 Field and Object of the study
The field of study in this research is literature while the object of this research is novel entitled Saving Private Ryan by Max Allan Collins. This research focuses on how chosen soldiers who got order to save Ryan respond and obey the superior authority. Also, this research will apply sociological psychology of obedience criticism theory and use psychological approach.

1.3 Background of the study
Obedience in the community can not be separated from the culture. obedience to rules formed by human could still be considered by moral parameters of each individual, as well as obedience to the rules and values ​​of religion in public life, moral constraints and considerations make us able to make obedience become unstable, it is different with its laws which firm, obedience to the rule of law can not be contested by any. In military, obedience to the authority of superior is the highest oath for subordinate soldier. According to lieutenant colonel Kenneth H. Wenker in his paper on Air University, all American military personnel have made a promise to obey in the form of the enlistment oath or the commissioning oath. (Wenker, 1981). Every order, without exception, still in the environment of military and governemental, must be obeyed without asking, hesitating, or do refusing. One will be punished or at least not rewarded if he does not obey.While this may be true and may sometimes provide sufficient reason (on teleological grounds) for complying with orders or regulations, nonetheless, it provides grounds only for compliance (not obedience) and only in those instances where the disobedience will be noted. We are more interested in an obedience based on the authority of the superior than in a compliance due to the superior’s ability to give rewards and punishments. We are interested in a moral obligation to obey even when no rewards or punishments are involved and when disobedience will not even be noted. (Cf. Brian M. Barry, Political Argument. 1965: 84) One thing for sure, obedience to the authority of superior would be rewarded althought in the military, the difference of performance would not always be rewarded, and, the refusing to the authority of superior will got rank dropped even loss the trust, for breaking the oath, therefore, obedience is perfect, could not be undermined by mere refusal. As the researcher takes obedience in military, the object for this research is a novel entitled Saving Private Ryan by Max Allan Collins based on screenplay by Robert Rodat, also filmed in Hollywood by well-known director, Steven Spielberg who make many succed movies, such as Jurrasic Park (1993), Indiana Jones (1981), Men in Black (1997), etc. Saving Private Ryan tells about eight soldier being a squad who got order from the supreme head, president Abraham Lincoln to save a mere soldier named James Ryan. This order comes up when three other brothers of Ryan killed in battlefield as his family just has them as children for their parents; actually his family is only Ryan and his mother. He must be returned to his family whatever way, even it could sacrifices other soldiers. Psychology for the chosen savior soldiers is analyzed, how they respond to this authority.

1.4 Research Question
Based from the background of the researh, the research questions that will lead the research are: 1. How do the chosen soldiers respond a simple order for saving the fourth James Ryan in Saving Private Ryan by Max Allan Collins? 2. What are the effects of obeying the authority for saving Ryan in Saving Private Ryan by Max Allan Collins?

1.5 Research Purpose
The purposes of this research is to answer the research question and to give conclusion about the research based on the title of the research, further explanation for the...

References: Colman, Andrew (2009). A Dictionary of Psychology. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199534063.
Division 19 Society for Military Psychology. (2009). Military Psychology Overview. Retrieved November 24, 2009,
Michels, K. (2004). Intelligence Testing in the United States Military. Retrieved October 29, 2009,
Milgram, S. (1963). "Behavioral study of obedience". Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (67): 371–378
Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to Authority, Harper and Row.
Milgram, S. (1973). The perils of obedience. Harper’s Magazine, 62-77.
Staal, M. & Stephenson, J. (2006). Operational Psychology: An Emerging Subdiscipline. Military Psychology, 18(4), 269-282
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