Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance


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1. Life and Works

For example, Woltman et al. Avoidance is not limited to television advertising. Speck and Elliott discuss avoidance behaviors in several media, including print and radio advertising. They distinguish between physical avoidance , whereby people leave the room or avoid the advertising section in a newspaper; mechanical avoidance like zapping and zipping; and cognitive avoidance , i.

Dreze and Hussherr , p. This experienced dissonance can be reduced by avoiding inconsistent information or searching for new consistent information. For example, Brock and Balloun showed that people who smoke paid more attention to a message stating that smoking is not detrimental to their health than to a message stating that smoking is a serious health risk.

The opposite pattern was found for people who do not smoke. The link between cognitive dissonance and selective exposure has been examined in many studies. Meta-analyses of this work e. One of the most important moderaters is attitude strength or extremity. Consistent with the notion of cognitive dissonance, selective exposure behavior seems more likely for individuals with a stronger opinion.

For example, Brannon et al. Knobloch-Westerwick and Meng obtained similar findings when tracking reading behavior in an online environment. In addition to attitude strength, a wide range of message and audience characteristics moderate the selective exposure effect Smith et al. Instead of avoiding the message, individuals may actively contest a the content of the message, b the source of the message, or c the persuasive strategies used in the message.

Below we discuss these three forms of contestation. A frequently used resistance strategy is to counter argue the message e. Contesting the content of a message is a thought process that decreases agreement with a counter attitudinal message. It is often conceptualized as a mediating variable between a persuasive message and outcomes such as attitudes and behavior Festinger and Maccoby, ; Silvia, When contesting the content of a message, people reflect on the arguments in the message and subsequently use counterarguments to refute it.

Counterarguments are activated when incoming information is compared to existing beliefs and discrepancies are noted Wright, Counter arguing can be encouraged by forewarning Wood and Quinn, , i. The effectiveness of forewarning increases when a greater time delay occurs between the warning and the message, because this gives them the opportunity to generate counterarguments e. Consistent with this finding, recent research demonstrated that counter arguing is less likely for narratives because the persuasive intentions are less clear for such communications.

In addition to contesting content, individuals may contest the source of a message. This behavior has been referred to as source derogation, and involves dismissing the credibility of sources or questioning their expertise or trustworthiness Abelson and Miller, ; Zuwerink Jacks and Cameron, In earlier research on persuasion, source derogation was perceived as a communication strategy that could be used to reduce or counter the effect of persuasion attempts e. In later research, Wright , demonstrated that source derogation may be used as a cognitive response to persuasion attempts.

Wright regards source derogation as a low-effort alternative to counter arguing because it requires processing of one single cue—the source of the message. Source derogation also underlies the observation that information from commercial sources e. In political communication, source derogation is observed in the processing of messages from opposing candidates Pfau and Burgoon, Related to source derogation is the idea of defensive stereotyping.

Sinclair and Kunda showed, for example, that people avert the consequences of a threatening message by activating a negative stereotype about the sender. This way the credibility of both the sender and the message reduces. Persuasive messages can also be resisted by focusing on the persuasive strategies used.

Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance by Richard E. F

The Persuasion Knowledge Model Friestad and Wright, proposes that people develop theories and beliefs about how persuasion agents try to influence them. For example, many people know that advertisers use babies, puppies, or beautiful models to appeal to emotions. Friestad and Wright propose that the detection of such persuasion tactics leads to a change of meaning that may subsequently result in resisting the persuasion attempt. Darke and Ritchie argued that people may even generalize these negative responses from one instance to the other, thereby providing a possible foundation for defensive stereotyping responses e.

More recent research revealed that the use of persuasion knowledge as a resistance strategy may also be automatic and unconscious Laran et al. Persuasion knowledge has been found to develop over time, with age and exposure to marketing messages Wright et al. To resist persuasive messages people can also engage in biased processing such that a message fits their attitudes and behavior or reduces relevance.

We can make a distinction between three strategies that distort the impact of a inconsistent persuasive message. The first two strategies, weighting attributes and reducing impact involve the distortion of information that is inconsistent with a particular attitude or behavior. The final strategy, optimism bias , is related to dismissing the relevance of a message. Ahluwalia found evidence for this strategy in a study of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. She found that people who were strongly committed to Clinton shifted the importance that they attached to individual traits of politicians.

When pro-Clinton voters heard about the affair, they responded by attaching less weight to traits such as honesty and morality, which were jeopardized by the affair, and more weight to unrelated traits like intelligence and strong leadership. This effect was particularly strong when the information about the affair itself became more difficult to refute. Ahluwalia found that people who are motivated to resist negative information do not display spill-over or halo-effects in their responses to negative information about one particular aspect of an object.

This allowed them to minimize the impact of the negative information on their overall evaluation of the object. Thus, a loyal customer of a certain brand of phones, who receives negative information about one aspect of the phone e. For less loyal customers, such information will lead to a spillover or halo effect, so that opinions about other aspects of the phone e.

Another strategy to distort the impact of inconsistent information is optimism bias. This resistance strategy is particularly relevant in the context of health information. It is suggested that message recipients have the tendency to believe that negative things are less likely to happen to them than to others Weinstein, ; Sharot et al. As a result they tend to downplay the risks or exaggerate the perception of their own ability to control the situation Chambers and Windschitl, When a message makes, for example, smokers aware of the detrimental effect of this unhealthy behavior they construe all kinds of reasons why these threats do not apply to them personally and why they are less at risk than others.

When using these strategies, people search to confirm their confidence in existing beliefs or themselves. Within this category three different strategies can be distinguished. The first two, attitude bolstering and social validation , aim to reinforce a particular existing attitude. This strategy strengthens self-confidence, and not one particular attitude. Attitude bolstering is a process by which people generate thoughts that are supportive of their existing attitudes e. Upon exposure to messages, recipients reconsider the reasons for their current attitudes and behavior.

They do not refute or challenge the arguments that are presented in the message For example, a person in favor of the right to abortion can resist a pro-life message by actively thinking about arguments that support the right to abortion rather than countering the arguments in the pro-life message. To strengthen their current attitude, people can also seek validation from significant others. Zuwerink Jacks and Cameron found that people who are presented with a persuasive message that is incongruent with their existing attitude think of others who share their existing beliefs. This confirms their current attitude or behavior and makes them less susceptible to persuasion.

Axsom et al. In their study, participants were presented with manipulated positive or negative audience feedback to a message. The results indicated that enthusiastic positive feedback enhanced the impact of the message. In their research on resistance strategies, Zuwerink Jacks and Cameron observed that people may resist persuasion by asserting the self. People who apply this strategy remind themselves that nothing can change their attitudes or behavior because they are confident about them. This phenomenon occurs for two reasons. First, people with high self-esteem are particularly confident about their own opinions and thus less likely to change their attitudes and behavior upon exposure to a persuasive message.

Second, sociometer theory Leary and Baumeister, argues that persuasion typically occurs because people desire to behave appropriately and therefore avoid disapproval by conforming to the message. People with high self-esteem feel less social pressure to conform because they feel valued and accepted, which reduces their motivation to behave in a socially appropriate manner Moreland and Levine, The previous section reviewed strategies that people use to resist a persuasive message.

In this section, we discuss three motives for resistance: threats to freedom, reluctance to change, and concern about deception. These motives derive from various research domains and will be applied to the field of persuasive communication to elucidate why people are motivated to resist a persuasive attempt. In addition, we discuss factors related to the activation of each resistance motive.

The theory of psychological reactance is one of the best-known frameworks for understanding why people resist persuasion for reviews, see Burgoon et al. Reactance theory assumes that human beings have an innate desire for autonomy and independence and experience psychological reactance when they sense that their freedom is threatened or eliminated.

1. Life and Works

When people feel that their freedom is threatened, they are motivated to maintain and restore the threatened opinion or behavior Brehm and Brehm, Hence, reactance is regarded as the motivational state of a person whose freedom is threatened. In the context of persuasion, people can feel threatened in their freedom to a exhibit particular attitudes and behavior, b change their attitudes and behavior, and c avoid committing to any position or behavior Worchel and Brehm, ; Brehm and Brehm, This phenomenon explains why persuasive attempts not only may be ineffective but also may lead to the opposite of the desired results, such as an increase in unhealthy behavior or a decrease in sales Clee and Wicklund, ; Ringold, Dillard and Shen proposed defining reactance at the level of observable affective and cognitive responses.

Their research suggests that reactance is best described by an intertwined model in which an affective anger response and a cognitive response of counter arguing are intertwined. This view was confirmed in subsequent experimental studies, as revealed by a recent meta-analysis of 20 different reactance studies Rains, Although psychological reactance was initially perceived as situation specific, Brehm and Brehm recognized that people vary in the extent to which they experience reactance.

Quick et al. Several studies revealed that younger people exhibit more reactance than older people Hong et al. Older people regard fewer situations as threatening their freedom because they have learned how to cope with the related emotions. In addition, Brehm and Brehm argued that older people are better at valuing the importance of freedom and are more motivated to exert a freedom than younger people.

In addition to trait reactance and age, several message factors have been found to affect the experience of threat to freedom. In general, threats to freedom are likely to be triggered by any or all message factors that seem to impose a certain behavior or opinion upon the audience. Research on language use suggests that the use of intense, forceful or dogmatic language, and particularly that which threatens choice, in a persuasive message triggers perceived threats to freedom that may subsequently result in boomerang effects Worchel and Brehm, ; Buller et al.

Kronrod et al. In their study of messages about environmental issues, these authors found that such language may reduce compliance from individuals who attach little importance to the topic see also Baek et al. Moreover, guilt appeals have also been found to induce feelings of anger, which is an essential element of reactance. For example, Englis found that people who were exposed to a guilt commercial reported lower levels of happiness and higher levels of anger, scorn, and disgust.

Threats to freedom may be prevented by elements of communication that emphasize freedom of choice. In terms of language use, this effect may be achieved by using politeness strategies, such as indirect requests, or by providing suggestions, examples, or hints rather than direct requests Brown, Beyond language factors, Shen has demonstrated that empathy-inducing messages i.

A reluctance to change may be caused by an unwillingness to change, but also by a desire to stay the same. We will elaborate upon this distinction in our discussion of the factors that drive reluctance to change. A persuasive attempt may also induce consistency concerns Petty et al. People are unwilling toward the possibility that persuasive information may challenge an important belief.

This may go beyond the general notion of avoiding cognitive dissonance Festinger, Reasons that may make people reluctant toward change include a the desire to not lose something of value, b believing that the proposed change does not make sense, c perceiving greater risks than benefits, and d being satisfied with the current situation Hultman, ; Kotter and Schlesinger, Dogmatism has been related to resistance to change in several studies e. Dogmatic people are characterized by closed-mindedness and cognitive rigidity. They are often averse to change because they find it difficult to adjust to a new situation.

Similarly, research on cultural values cf. Constructs related to cognitive flexibility and openness are the opposite of closed-mindedness and uncertainty avoidance. Research on organizational behavior has indicated that people with high resilience or flexibility are less likely to experience stress as a result of changes and are therefore less resistant to organizational change Wanberg and Banas, Reluctance to change may be greater for attitudes and beliefs that are more important to one.

A third motive that might explain why people experience resistance toward persuasion is concerns of deception. People do not like to be fooled. People are keen on regarding their belief system as correct and truthful and are more defensive of their attitudes when they believe these are correct. The desire to hold accurate attitudes and opinions is an important motive when processing information Petty and Cacioppo, ; Chaiken, ; Petty et al. As a result of this desire, people often scrutinize information by searching for supporting information and avoiding conflicting information Lundgren and Prislin, One factor that might increase concerns of deception is persuasion knowledge Friestad and Wright, Therefore, we expect a positive relationship between persuasion knowledge and concerns of deception.

The extent to which people have had negative experiences with persuasive attempts is also expected to be related to concerns of deception. Research has indicated that exposure to deceptive advertising makes people skeptical, even toward unrelated advertisements from other sources Darke and Ritchie, Hence, when people are deceived once, they develop negative beliefs about communicators in general, undermining the effectiveness of further persuasive communication Pollay, In other words, people who have negative experiences with persuasive attempts are more likely to experience concerns of deception, motivating them to resist persuasion.

Skepticism can be described as a tendency to disbelieve. In a persuasive context, one may be skeptical of the literal truth of message claims, the motives of the sender, the value of the information, the appropriateness of the message for a specific audience e. A positive relationship between skepticism and concerns of deception is therefore expected. Several message characteristics may trigger concerns of deception. Moreover, persuasive attempts that push people into choices that might benefit the communicator rather than the recipient may result in the experience of deception Koslow, The suspicion of ulterior motives may affect information processing and impression formation e.

When people become aware of ulterior motives, concerns of deception will increase. Having established the motives for resistance, we will discuss how these motives might be related to the use of the different types of resistance strategies i. We establish a general preliminary framework predicting the use of the described resistance strategies by the three different resistance motives. This framework leads to a set of six propositions that define plausible relationships between the underlying motives for resistance and the type of resistance strategy see Figure 1.

Note that many previous studies in different fields have focused on resistance motives and resistance strategies. However, to the best of our knowledge no research empirically tested relationships between different resistance motives and resistance strategies. Previous work either focused on one motive resulting in different resistance strategies or on different motives for one particular resistance strategy.

Moreover, we only found one study that examined the use of different resistance strategies by focusing on the likelihood that particular resistance strategies are adopted in a given persuasive situation Zuwerink Jacks and Cameron, Our framework should therefore be regarded as a first attempt at organizing the disparate literatures on resistance to persuasion. By no means we claim that the set of propositions is exhaustive and that no additional relationships between specific motivations and specific resistance strategies can be expected. The aim of the framework is to provide a general overview of how resistance motivations and resistance strategies might be related to inspire and guide future research in this domain.

In describing the framework, we first explain the use of avoidance strategies and then discuss which strategies each resistance motive is likely to induce. We illustrate these possible relationships by providing examples from the literature that support our hypothesizing. Figure 1. Avoidance strategies are different from the other types of strategies because they re adopted before actual exposure to the persuasion attempt, as opposed to contesting, biased processing and empowerment strategies, which are employed during or after the attempt.

We propose that avoidance strategies may occur with each of the different resistance motives i. Avoidance strategies are particularly adopted when people anticipate an unwanted persuasion attempt, whereas the other strategies are used to cope with the actual experience of the persuasion attempt, at which point it is too late to adopt avoidance strategies.

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Previous literature provides initial evidence for the idea that the three defined resistance motives are related to avoidance strategies. Support for the relationship between reluctance to change and avoidance strategies can be found for example in research demonstrating that people who defend a self-expressive attitude or a core value selectively ignore any information that may threaten this attitude or value Chaiken et al.

More generally, Sweeney et al. A meta-analysis by Hart et al. Accuracy motivation is related to the motive of concerns of deception, and defined as the desire to form accurate beliefs and attitudes. Both accuracy and defense motivations have been found to initiate selective exposure processes although these relationships depend on various moderators such as relevance, information quality, attitude strength, and attitudinal ambivalence Sawicki et al. Research in advertising has also shown that people who rate advertising as deceptive are more inclined to avoid the message Speck and Elliott, Other work in the advertising domain Edwards et al.

In a broader sense, this is reflected in the earlier cited work by Sweeney et al. In sum, in the literature we found support for our notion that avoidance strategies are related to the three defined resistance motives. However, to use the avoidance strategies, people should be aware of the upcoming persuasive event so that they can avoid the activation of the resistance motives. Proposition 1: Avoidance strategies are likely to be adopted upon the anticipated experience of threats to freedom, unwanted requests for change, or the possibility of deception.

It is often not possible to avoid a persuasive message, because such messages are omnipresent in our contemporary environment. In many situations, avoidance strategies are therefore not sufficient, so that contesting, biased processing, and empowerment strategies come into play. We discuss below how the underlying motives are related to these three types of strategies. First, we discuss the relationship between reluctance to change on the one hand, and empowerment and biased processing strategies on the other.

Second, we explain how concerns of deception predict the use of contesting strategies, and finally, we describe how threats to freedom are related to both contesting and empowerment strategies. We propose that people who are reluctant to change are especially likely to use empowerment strategies because these strategies involve resisting persuasive messages by reinforcing either the self i. Alternatively, they may employ biased processing strategies because these focus on processing information in such way that it aligns with existing attitudes and behavior.

The use of empowerment strategies in conditions where people are reluctant to change is illustrated by several examples. In a classic study, Sherman and Gorkin found that attitude bolstering is more likely to occur when persuasive messages are targeting on attitudes that are more central to the self. From the literature on social influence, we know that social validation is most effective when people feel uncertain about the situation or their attitudes Cialdini, This idea was confirmed by Ivanov et al. Reluctance to change may also induce biased processing strategies including weighting information and reducing impact because people are likely to experience dissonance when confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs, attitudes, or behavior Ahluwalia, Hence, when trying to maintain the status quo, people are prone to distorting incoming information such that inconsistent information is dismissed or devalued, and consist information is valued as more important.

This finding is consistent with research by Innes demonstrating that highly dogmatic people, who tend to be motivated by reluctance to change, used distorted information processing e. Proposition 2: When people are reluctant to change, they are likely to use empowerment and biased processing strategies to resist persuasion. When resistance is motivated by concerns of deception, we argue that contesting strategies will be adopted. These strategies can be defined as strategies that resist a persuasion attempt by contesting the content, source, or persuasive strategy of the message.

Individuals who are concerned about deception do not want to take the risk of being misinformed. They are motivated to critically process the persuasive message and search for evidence that the message they receive is untrue, untrustworthy, or deceptive Darke and Ritchie, ; Main et al. In other words, they are more likely to carefully scrutinize the different elements of the message. Because they are motivated by concerns of deception, they are afraid of being misinformed, and tuned toward message cues confirming that the message cannot be trusted.

In the advertising literature, the concept of advertising skepticism refers to individuals who distrust the information provided by advertising, and are more likely to critically process advertisements Obermiller and Spangenberg, We argue that any contesting strategy may be used in such critical processing. Individuals who are concerned about being misinformed may focus on the inaccuracy of arguments i. The result of this processing is a discounting of the persuasive message so that people need not question the accuracy of their existing belief-system.

Moreover, when people are concerned about being fooled, persuasion knowledge Friestad and Wright, is likely to be activated. People will be focused on the strategies that persuaders use to convince them to change their behavior.


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Recognizing these strategies and labeling them as manipulative and unfair may function as a strategy to resist the message. Proposition 3: When concerns of deception are present, people are likely to use contesting strategies to resist persuasion. Previous research has revealed that threats to freedom are inherently related to contesting strategies, particularly contesting the message i. Contesting a message can function as a means of restoring freedom. Fukada demonstrated that participants who were warned of the persuasive intent of a message and therefore experienced reactance engaged in more counter arguing than participants who were not warned cf.

Many studies have observed that people engage in counter arguing when their freedoms are threatened. Threats to freedom have previously also been related to source derogation i. For example, Smith found that participants who were exposed to a threatening message exerted source derogation on three dimensions: objectiveness, expertness, and trustworthiness.

Hence, when exposed to threatening information, people evaluate the source of the message as someone less expert, as less objective, and as less trustworthy. Recently, Boerman et al. Being aware of the persuasive intent often arouses reactance, which affects the activation of persuasion knowledge about the strategy that is applied.

People who feel that exposure to a persuasive message threatens their freedom are particularly motivated to restore their freedom. People tend to respond with anger and irritation upon reactance arousal Brehm and Brehm, The motivation to restore freedom often results in attitudes or behaviors countering those advocated by the message. When reactance is induced, people may overcorrect whereby the original attitudes and behavior are valued even more than before Clee and Wicklund, Therefore, we argue that restoring threatened freedoms can also be achieved through empowerment strategies.

People can feel threatened in their freedom to a hold particular attitudes and behavior, b change their attitudes and behavior, and c avoid committing to any position or behavior. The type of freedom that is threatened is expected to predict the type of empowerment strategy that people adopt. First, when people experience a threat to retain a particular attitude or behavior they are likely to use the empowerment strategies attitude bolstering and social validation. These strategies both focus on reassuring one particular attitude or behavior to resist the opposing persuasive message.

For example, when people feel threatened in their positive attitude toward abortion by exposure to a message against abortion, they are likely to reinforce their existing attitude by thinking about arguments that support their attitude i. Proposition 5a: In response to persuasive messages that are perceived as threatening the freedom to hold a particular attitude or perform a particular behavior, the empowerment strategies of attitude bolstering and social validation, are more likely to be used than the empowerment strategy of asserting confidence.

Second, when resistance is motivated by a more general threat to the freedom of changing attitudes and behavior or by a threat to the freedom to avoid committing to any position or behavior, the empowerment strategy assertions of confidence is more likely to be used.

Hence, when people feel that a persuasive message is a threat to their freedom to change attitudes, such as the freedom to feel, think, and behave how they want, they are less likely to be inclined to assert the self to enhance self-esteem. This enhances their confidence about their general belief-system Wicklund and Brehm, Proposition 5b: In response to persuasive messages that are perceived as threatening the more general freedom to change or the freedom to avoid committing to any position or behavior, the empowerment strategy of asserting confidence is more likely to be used than other empowerment strategies of resistance.

By building on existing theory and research, this article presents a preliminary framework explaining why people use certain resistance strategies. This framework provides an initial step to a better understanding of resistance processes. Moreover, this article is the first to present an extensive overview and classification of strategies that people adopt when motivated to resist persuasion.

In our framework, we argue that the motives for resistance i. First, avoidance strategies are proposed to be related to all the identified resistance motives e. Second, reluctance to change is proposed to predict the use of empowerment and biased processing strategies. Third, concerns of deception are hypothesized to relate to the adoption of contesting strategies. Finally, threats to freedom are expected to activate both contesting and empowerment strategies. The presented framework has implications for various fields related to persuasion research, such as health, political, marketing, and organizational communication.

For example, the threat to freedom motivation is hypothesized to be related to health messages in particular because people do not prefer others telling them to quit smoking or exercise more, whereas concerns of deception seem more related to marketing messages because people become more skeptical about the trustworthiness of advertising Obermiller and Spangenberg, Therefore, different types of resistance strategies are adopted in different persuasive communication domains based on the underlying motivation.

Hence, contesting strategies might be used more in marketing communications settings whereas both contesting and empowerment strategies might often be applied in a health communication setting. In addition, it is important to consider the possibility that individuals may differ in their ability to engage in the resistance strategies that are defined here. These differences may not only occur between individuals, but also between strategies within individuals. An individual may be better in employing strategy A than strategy B, which may lead to a preference for one strategy over another.

Future research could strive to develop a complete model of resistance that includes not only resistance strategies and their motives, but also individual abilities and situational factors. In addition, such a model could incorporate more complex patterns of resistance, whereby strategies are combined sequentially in response to a persuasion attempt. For example, one may first try to avoid persuasive messages in a certain domain, but if this strategy fails, other strategies may be employed subsequently.

For example, Chaiken et al. This strategy, however, is not always feasible, so that other strategies need to be employed. One candidate strategy in this particular case may be motivated skepticism Ditto and Lopez, ; Taber and Lodge, Future research in this area could use this framework when investigating resistance. The propositions of the framework about the links between the underlying resistance motives and the use of resistance strategies must be empirically tested.

Doing so first requires the development of measures to capture the different resistance motives. Some useful scales have already been developed for the threat to freedom motive e. Second, there is a need for a scale that measures the relative use of the defined resistance strategies. Additional research questions may be derived when combining the factors that affect the activation of resistance motives and the different types of resistance strategies.

For example, the framework predicts that highly skeptical people use contesting strategies to resist persuasion induced by concerns of deception more frequently, whereas dogmatic people will more frequently adopt empowerment strategies to resist persuasion induced by reluctance to change. The framework also offers a guideline for communication practitioners who want to persuade people toward behaviors such as giving up smoking or drinking alcohol, buying a product, or voting for a particular political candidate.

Awareness of motives and strategies to resist persuasive messages, may be used to improve persuasive messages See Fransen et al. For example, when counter arguing is likely to be adopted, practitioners may create two-sided messages in which counter arguments are already addressed Allen, , or when a threat to freedom is a motive for resistance, disguised communication strategies in which the persuasive intent is less obvious, such as brand placement or entertainment-education, might be helpful in undermining the experience of resistance.

Self-affirmation is a strategy that may be useful when trying to overcome defensive processing i. Self-affirmation can be achieved by focusing on other valued aspects of the self, which are unrelated to the message threat Sherman and Cohen, This strategy allows people to feel a sense of integrity, which enables them to respond more openly to counter attitudinal messages and reduce the use of empowerment strategies. The literature on resistance to persuasion has spawned many insights on the various ways in which people may resist persuasion attempts and on how resistance is influenced by other variables.

The present article aims to provide an overarching structure for this research and advances several propositions for future research. The framework is rooted in literatures from diverse disciplines that have examined resistance to persuasion. We hope it inspires researchers to connect the different areas of resistance research that have been conducted. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Political Obligation, Right to Resistance and Civil Disobedience - I

Abelson, H. Persuasion: How Opinions and Attitudes are Changed. New York: Springer Publishing Company. Google Scholar. Abelson, R. Negative persuasion via personal insult. Ahluwalia, R. Examination of psychological processes underlying resistance to persuasion. Allen, M. Meta-analysis comparing the persuasiveness of one-sided and two-sided messages. Speech Commun. Axsom, D. Audience response as a heuristic cue in persuasion. Baek, T.

When environmental messages should be assertive: examining the moderating role of effort investment. Batinic, B. Mass communication, social influence, and consumer behavior: two field experiments. Boerman, S. Sponsorship disclosure: effects of duration on persuasion knowledge and brand responses. Brannon, L. What are its boundaries? Such questions, which address the issue of autonomy, are fundamental to human existence. Yet the idea of autonomy as such only arises when an individual or a group finds itself in conflict with its surroundings.

In this sense, the starting point for a discourse on the autonomy of action does not only ask the question of freedom but also addresses the issue of responsibility. When people living in some region of the world declare that their group has the right to live autonomously, they are saying that they ought to be allowed to govern themselves. In making this claim, they are, in essence, rejecting the political and legal authority of those not in their group. They are insisting that whatever power these outsiders may have over them, this power is illegitimate; they, and they alone, have the authority to determine and enforce the rules and policies that govern their lives.

The demand to be permitted to govern ourselves reflects the conviction that we are, in essence, self-governors. An activist is one who acts. Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was born in He attended the University of Frankfurt where he studied philosophy, sociology, psychology, and music. Escaping from Nazism, the Institute moved to Zurich in , and Adorno in , rejoined the Institute, which was now located in New York.

In , at the age of 50, Adorno left the United States and returned to Frankfurt to take up a position with the Institute In he became its director following the retirement of Max Horkheimer. In students occupy the building of the Institute and Adorno calls police to clean the office. After that incident, students, in an aggressive form, of happening, boycotted his lectures.

Adorno died in in Switzerland, after being shocked by the aforementioned events, and while writing what many believe to be his most important work, Aesthetic Theory. Adorno, along with other participants of the so-called Frankfurt School, used Hegelian dialectics for the analysis of the political, ideological, and economic contradictions of the late capitalism. Adorno followed his friend and teacher Walter Benjamin in insisting on a special, irreconcilable form of dialectic, which does not lead to a frozen result and where the negative trumps over the positive.

Art occupies the space that it inhabits because of its lack of function. In art, everything functional or social has been volted into chaos; means and ends, superiors and inferiors, owners and staff have been switched. By taking its place — as the result of unspeakable efforts — art makes society aware of its own disorganization.

In the sociology of art, this place is known as autonomy. In one way or the other, these problems will become the object of artistic reflection, although the result of this reflection has nothing at all in common with ordinary empirical examinations or therapeutic perscriptions. Instead, these problems are understood as signs for universal issues, whose current content is of no importance to art. This neutralization gives rise to those structures of the art system that guarantee its autonomy.

Vesting an interest in popularization and educational goals, the art system slowly depletes the art-work of its conflicts and its social bite. This neighborly relationship, impossible even 10 years ago, pays testimony to the process of neutralization. In the swampy quagmire of conflict-free coexistence, everything is equalized: Stalinism becomes equal to Nazism, Marxism to liberalism, abstractionism to realism.

The concept of a single national organisation was temporarily abandoned. The universities in particular became an important base for the autonomists, no longer as centres for well educated, middle class, discontented students, but as a huge meeting place for unemployed youth. Toni Negri was one of key theoretical figure in establishing Autonomia Organizzata Organized Autonomy , a loosely coordinated network of local organizations throughout Italy.

Autonomia was decidedly opposed to the notion of vanguard party and centralized leadership, posing instead the autonomy of local groups.


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  4. Negri insisted that political organization had continually to pose the problem of centralization and democracy. In past communist revolutions, the centralized party management of power has always at a certain point strangled the proletarian organization of powers, and at that point the revolution has come to an end. In this sense Negri argued for Autonomia to be an anti-party, a decentralized and open network of political organizations. Cornelius Castoriadis, was a philosopher, political thinker, social critic, practicing psychoanalyst, renowned Sovietologist, and economist who cofounded the now legendary revolutionary journal and group Socialisme ou Barbarie The nucleus of the individual is the psyche the Unconscious, the drives.

    The autonomy of the individual consists in the instauration of an other relationship between the reflective instance and the other psychical instances as well as between the present and the history which made the individual such as it is. This relationship makes it possible for the individual to escape the enslavement of repetition, to look back upon itself, to reflect on the reason for its thoughts and the motives of its acts, guided by the elucidation of its desire and aiming at the truth. This autonomy can effectively alter the behavior of the individual, as we positively know.

    This means that the individual is no longer a pure and passive product of its psyche and history and of the institution. In other words, the formation of a reflective and deliberative instance, that is, of true subjectivity, frees the radical imagination of the singular human being as source of creation and alteration and allows this being to attain an effective freedom. This freedom presupposes, of course, the indeterminacy of the psychical world as well as its permeability to meaning. But it also entails that the simply given meaning has ceased to be a cause which is also always the case in the social-historical world and that there is the effective possibility of the choice of meaning not dictated in advance.

    In other words, once formed, the reflective instance plays an active and not predetermined role in the deployment and the formation of meaning, whatever its source be it the radical creative imagination of the singular being or the reception of a socially created meaning. In turn, this presupposes again a specific psychical mechanism: to be autonomous implies that one has psychically invested freedom and the aiming at truth.

    1st Edition

    Autonomy as a tactic of detecting and arranging free spaces — internet, alternative media, squatting and so on. Entrisme describes the logic of secretly penetrating the system, making critical use of its local deficiencies and weaknesses, which need only be expanded and widened. The question of actual practice was reduced to the neurotic quandry of whether to enter or not to enter, to participate or not to participate. Everyday life provides us with a mass of attractive constructs of itself, a kind of defensive army that blocks our access to the space where the quotidian would really be — or is — unbearable.

    On the level of political opposition, reality is ritualized, transformed in theatrical gestures of repeating self-representation. Its apogee is a peaceful demonstration, an essentially sacral space, whose limited and strictly reglemented time allows the individual to express him-herself. Here, he-she can say what exactly he-she considers to be shit. Escorted triumphally by the authorities as a convoy , the peaceful demonstration is a travesty of the collective autonomous subject, which can only enjoy its freedom to the extent that it understands its limitations.

    Behind this wall stand the government offices, generously decorated with outdoor advertising, demonstrating a reality of alienated consumption, whose cheap glamour conceals a reality of alienated production as though there was no alternative. Nevertheless, kept to its own limits, the peaceful demonstration is a space of extreme tension, saturated with affective energy, which connects its participants into an united community. This, in turn, allows the demonstration to reproduce itself continuously as a peaceful act. Even if art, in its autonomy, claims the right to make a difference in all of society, it is kept back and fixed in place by the authorities by which it is surrounded.

    Or, to put it differently, can we expect art to break the conventions of contemporary society, finally regaining some of the relevance that it has lost? Autonomy, one might argue with Foucault, is a natural result and goal of discipline.

    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance
    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance
    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance
    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance
    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance
    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance
    Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance Freedom and Its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance

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