Stanley Milgram Analysis

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Goffman explores how authority is related to one’s assimilation into a total institution in regards to what he calls the “privilege system”. While the playground social setting is only for play, and therefore not a total institution, the same theories of using “house rules”, privileges, and punishments² to gain obedience could be applied. While I did not see any specific examples of it happening, it is likely that children understood a set of rules they were to follow at the park, whether their caretaker told them before they got to the park, or on previous trips to the park. Understanding these rules explains why the children did not do things such as harm each other, run out of the playground without their caretaker, ect. While there were…show more content…
In a series of experiments regarding obeying authority, Stanley Milgram found that “the physical presence of an authority is an important force contributing to the subject’s obedience or defiance”. Milgram concluded from his study that the proximity of an authoritative figure plays a huge role in determining whether or not the subject carried out the experiment. Specifically in the case of the Asian family, the daughter followed the directions of her father, who had remained closer to her the duration of my observation, instead of listening to her mother who was further away from her for the majority of the time. Milgram would likely attribute the children’s obedience of their caretakers to the fact that the caretakers were always physically present, and relatively near, when they commanded the child(ren) to do something. However, on the other hand, Milgram does not have any way to make sense of the disobedience that occured, since all of the times children disobeyed their caretaker, said caretaker was still close to the child. However, generally speaking, Milgram’s perspective on the proximity to authority relationship did prove to be true with the majority of the children at the…show more content…
The child’s proximity to authority was always within visual and audible distance, which made it very difficult for the children to ignore their commands. Among some of the older girls, there seemed to be a clear understanding of what rules were expected to be followed in a public setting because their fathers did not have the same close proximity to them that other caretakers had to children who obeyed. As would be expected, it is necessary that children have specific figures of authority to guide them and keep them safe because without their caretakers they might have gotten themselves in danger. And as in the majority of observations, there was no clear answer for all of the obedience and disobedience responses from children because even in the situation where the girl in the orange jacket had been physically and seemingly emotionally closer to her mother, she was more defiant to authority. The bulk of the observation goes to show that while responses to authority can largely be a result of the social situations, the personality of a child may have also played a role, especially in the cases where the obedience/disobedience was not directly explained by any of the theories on

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