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

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Yale University Press, 1989 - Psychology - 382 pages
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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.

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

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"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


Persistent Issues
Reactions to the My Lai Massacre
Public Reactions to the Calley Trial
The Cenerality
Individual Differences in Conceptions of Authority
Three Orientations
Findings from the 1971 Survey

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