Social Influence by Artefacts

Diogenes 55 (1):68-83 (2008)
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A review of the paradigms of social influence – suggestion, imitation, normalization, conformity, compliance, conversion – leads me to diagnose a triple malaise: the shrinkage of paradigms to cognitive dual-processing theories of information; the dominant methodology of laboratory experiments falls short of the reality of (mass) communication; and the focus of social influence on inter-subjectivity is only half of the story. I will suggest two extensions of social influence theory to include mass media communication and the inter-objectivity of artefacts. We need to be able to conceptualize the modalities of why, how and to what effect somebody might put up a wall to influence neighbours instead of contenting themselves with putting up a public note ‘Do not trespass!’. Social influence by fait accompli needs to be within the remit of social psychology, otherwise it loses its relevance in a technological society where artefacts mediate most inter-personal relations



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References found in this work

Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1):187-190.
Do artifacts have politics?Langdon Winner - 1980 - Daedalus 109 (1):121--136.
On technical mediation.Bruno Latour - 1994 - Common Knowledge 3 (2):29-64.

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