Social Psychology

Social Psychology

Social Psychology studies the individual as a social being. The individual develops their identity and sense of others and the world they live in through their interactions with family, community and culture. By definition then the individual is situated and ‘produced’ in a particular geo-historical context which has its own particular set of contingencies and conditions which form the choices and options available for that individual to choose from. The focus of social psychology is not on the individual but these contingencies and conditions which are made available for the individuals in that cohort group to choose from. The individual as a person negotiates these conditions and contingencies but is less a fixed object that can be defined by the ‘observer’. This is an issue of power relations and debate.
In this Response Paper you will attempt to gain the social psychologists perspective by watching a film by Naomi Klein entitled ‘Shock Doctrine’ and writing an essay answering the questions listed below. As a social psychological film, it challenges us to see how social conditions produce certain types of modern individuals, societies which are now manipulated largely by ‘shock’ into accepting new social terms for their lives. She is attempting to critically analyze elements of Neoliberal ‘conditions and contingencies’.

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1. Watch the movie ‘The Shock Doctrine’. (Links to an external site.)

2. Write a minimum 250 word reaction paper.

a. Critique the argument she is making about how shock is being used to manipulate and regulate social behavior. What do you feel are the strengths or weaknesses? Give supportive evidence and a rational for whatever your opinion is.

b. A the end of the film Naomi Klein quotes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s comment to progressives who visited him as he directed policies during the Great Depression of 1929, he said to them ‘go out and make me do it’. Why did he say that and what did he mean? Do you agree with his approach, why or why not?

c. If we are being manipulated by social ‘shock’ what we should do about it? What do you feel you can do to be ‘shock resistant’?

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