Hi, can someone please critique my essay on resistance to authority and tell me what they think it may get out of 16. I thought I answered the question, however when I read the mark scheme it makes me think I haven't. So any support will be appreciated
Discuss explanations for resistance to authority. Refer to evidence in your answer. (16)
Two explanations of resistance to authority are locus of control and social support explanations. Locus of control is how much control someone thinks they have over the events in their life. an internal locus of control is when someone believes they have control over the events in their life (these people are more likely to resist authority). People with an external locus of control believe they don't have control over the events in their life. Locus of control can be measured through a questionnaire devised by Rotter. Locus of control is a dispositional explanation of obedience. The other explanation of resistance to authority is the social support explanation. This says that people are more likely to withstand the pressure to obey or conform if they receive support from peers. This is a situational explanation of resistance to authority.
A strength of the locus of control explanation is that it receives study support. Shute used Rotters questionnaire on a group of undergraduates protesting drugs and then made the same participants complete a conformity questionnaire. Shute found that undergraduates were more likely to resist the pressure to obey or conform if they had an internal locus of control. This is a strength of the locus of control explanation as an explanation of resistance to social influence as it shows that people who believe they have control over their own life are more likely to challenge to 'mob mentality' and resist authority.
A strength of the social support explanation of resistance to authority comes from Asch's conformity study. Asch found that in the unanimity variation, conformity dropped from 32% to 5.5%. This is significant as it shows that people are more likely to challenge authority if they believe they will receive support and the big discrepancy in figures (over a quarter of participants changed their stance) suggests that social support does influence whether someone will resist social influence. However, the fact 5.5% still obeyed and conformed to authority suggests that social support doesn't provide a complete explanation to resistance to authority as it can't explain why everybody didn't resist authority if they had social support.
A weakness of the locus of control explanation is that it is an overly deterministic explanation of resistance to social influence. For example, the concept of an external locus of control is a deterministic concept as people believe they don't have control over their life. This is a weakness as it means we can't determine whether people don't challenge authority because they have an external locus of control, or if there is a different cause for someone not resisting authority. For example Benassi et al conducted a review and found participants with an external LoC were more likely to have depression. This is significant as we can't determine whether its people having depression which causes an external locus of control and as a result not challenging authority, or if an external locus of control causes depression, which means someone is less likely to resist.
A strength of social support explanation is that it receives support from Milgram obedience study. Milgram conducted a variation of his obedience study where there were 2 confederates with the participant. Milgram found that when the 2 confederates refused to take part obedience dropped from 65% to 450v in the original study to 10%. This is significant as it show that the people are much more likely to resist authority (in this case the experimenter) if they believe they have social support, and the large discrepancy in statistics support this.
Possible AO1 content. Up to 6 marks for appropriate and relevant knowledge of explanations for resistance to social influence:
The influence of disobedient role models / presence of social support
Internal locus of control - being in an autonomous state
Also credit the inverse of factors / explanations usually used to explain obedience to authority, e.g.:
(Lack of) proximity of authority figure
Proximity of victim – closer the victim, more likely to resist authority
(Lack of) legitimacy of authority figure / uniform / setting
(Lack of) authoritarian personality.
Credit description of relevant evidence up to two marks.
Likely studies include Milgram (1963), Bickman (1974), Hofling (1966), Feldman and Schelbe (1972), Gamson (1982), Hamilton (1978). Accept other relevant studies linked to resistance to authority.
Possible AO3 content. Up to 10 marks for discussion of explanations for resistance to social influence:
Use of evidence to support / illustrate the influence of the explanations chosen, e.g. specific studies of defiance and / or variations of Milgram's basic experiment that demonstrated increased defiance. For example, in Milgram’s variation where the teacher and learner were in the same room and therefore in close proximity, defiance increased. This therefore supports the proximity of the victim being an important explanation for resistance to authority.
Discussion of the wider implications of the explanations, e.g. in real-life situations of defiance such as the French village of La Chambon during world war two.
Comparison of relative power of explanations – for example, when comparing the results of Milgram’s variations candidates may consider which factors led to the greatest increase in resistance and therefore has the strongest influence.
Only credit evaluation of the methodology used in studies when made relevant to discussion of the explanations e.g. use of specific studies.