Crimes of Obedience: Toward a Social Psychology of Authority and Responsibility

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 1989 - Psychology - 382 pages
Sergeant William Calley's defense of his behavior in the My Lai massacre and the widespread public support for his argument that he was merely obeying orders from a superior and was not personally culpable led Herbert C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton to investigate the attitudes toward responsibility and authority that underlie "crimes of obedience"--not only in military circumstances like My Lai but as manifested in Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, and the Kurt Waldheim affair. Their book is an ardent plea for the right and obligation of citizens to resist illegal and immoral orders from above.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Crimes of obedience: toward a social psychology of authority and responsibility

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"A crime of obedience is an illegal or immoral act committed in response to orders or directives from authority.'' This stated, the authors, both social psychologists, proceed to examine the My Lai ... Read full review

Contents

Persistent Issues
23
The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey
53
The Structure of Authority
77
The Dynamics of Authority
103
Challenging Authority
136
Public
167
Responsibility in Authority Situations
195
The Generality
236
Individual Differences in Conceptions of Authority
261
Three Orientations
278
On Breaking the Habit of Unquestioning Obedience
307
Appendix A Information about and Interest in the Calley
341
References
351
Index
369
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information