A Social Change - Part 2 - Minorities as Social Influence

in psychology •  last year 

Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
A Social Change - Part 2 - Minorities as Social Influence

"Minorities can turn into Majorities" - charlie777pt


Majorities always use normative social influence, while minorities use information in cognitive structured messages and persuasion.
Minority views and positions can change majority attitudes and behaviors to accept a benefiting alternative view.

1 - How do Minorities act

Minorities' actions and influence generate a social conflict with the majority that will express a resistance to the introduction of innovative perspectives about taking actions or positions.
"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better" - Martin Luther King
The conflict will generate reactions that make the majority acknowledging the existence of the minority with the capacity to influence, creating a kind of mechanism of negotiations, implicitly or explicitly, as a system of persuasion.
The minority forces a proposal for alternatives, persuading the majority to accept the innovation , using negotiations as the main dimension of the societal process of influence.

In an experiment, Moscovici showed that individuals with consistency can have more influence over the people that is less consistent no matter if they where in the majority or minority group.
The consistent individuals in the minority group have more influence in their peers, to change behaviors and become strong allies, but in the majority group, these phenomena do not happen in such a deep way.

In a later experience Moscovici and others isolated 3 important elements of minority influence:

a) - People in disagreement tend to show their points of view, but they are ready to negotiate.

b)- Consistent minorities have strong ways to act on the discrepancies to reduce them and get agreement and consensus from the majority.

c)- Minority influence is more based on sharing cognitions then from its minor position.
The minority role has its strength in the consistency of the alternative views of reality.


2 - What makes Minority influences

"Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth." - Mahatma Gandhi

The influence of minorities is sustained in two aspects, on one side the behavioral or cognitive approach and the social context.

2.1- The behavioral or cognitive style

Moscovici defined the behavioral or cognitive style, as the intentional verbal and nonverbal signs, expressing the present situation and the desired one in the future, showing the desires, trends, and orientations of the people emanating it.
He pointed out the two levels of behavioral style, the instrumental giving evaluative information about the object, and the symbolic informing the individual position in relation to the object of change.
He also found out 4 behavioral styles that influence the majority:
  • Investment
    A strong involvement in the defense of our social positions is based in the compromises, convictions and the undertaken risks, whose perseverance to resist the initial unacceptance, creating admiration and a big visibility, even in the majority that reject the demands
  • Autonomy
    Autonomy has two aspects, the independence(freedom of choice and truth without veils) and the reasoning objectivity and attitudes(use rationality, honesty, and self-trust)
  • Equity
    Equity is about openness and tolerance against rigidity and unacceptance to unblock conflicts and disagreements pushing the majority to accept the new alternative.
  • Consistency
    For Moscovici consistency is the main factor of the minority influence by coherence and conviction without gaps between our words and our acts, consubstantiated with a firm attitude against any opposition
Consistency can be internal ( intra-psychic) and social (interrelationship) expressed and explicit so that it is recognized and accepted as a positive change by the majority.
Minorities should also maintain 3 fundamental conditions to be effective:
  • Intentions must be equal to the significance of the actions and behaviors.
  • The signs must be reiterated to avoid others misinterpretations of the behaviors.
  • During interactions, the behaviors can't variate and must be corrected in case it happens.
In this kind of change, people don't need the flag of power and authority to change the ones that hold the banner.
Consistency as two forms the Diachronic (persistent over time when the majority do not modify its positions), and Synchronic (the strength of cohesion between members).
"The minority yields to the majority!" - Deng Xiaoping

2.2 - Social Context

Social context has opportunities and constraints to the efficacy on minority's influences in collective action and change.

2.2.1- The Pressure

Action efficiency and influence besides being connected to peoples traits of consistency can also suffer the influence of degrees of pressure that can contain it.
Minorities' influences depend a lot on the group cohesiveness maintaining the influence even if there is less consistency, attracting the majority to approach the minor group.
Any attitude change at the individual level of any member of the majority that accepts the innovation reinforces the strength and cohesion of the minority.

"The minority is sometimes right; the majority always wrong." - George Bernard Shaw
2.2.2 - Social Norms

Social Interactions are susceptible to be influenced by values, social representations and norms.
For Moscovici perceptions and thoughts are influenced by three kinds of norms:
a) - Objectivity - a regulatory kind of thinking with the need to feed on exact information.
b) - Preference - based on our feeling and reasoning about the diversity of ideas and tastes on people.
c) - Originality - a way of interpreting the function of the innovation in events of reality.
Minority Groups have types of conducts in the relation with the majorities like avoidance, deviance, defiance or acceptance.
Majority Groups have a typical response to Minorities, like the rule of laws, stigmatization, segregation, exclusion, xenophobia or gender

"What characterizes a member of a minority group is that he is forced to see himself as both exceptional and insignificant, marvelous and awful, good and evil" - Norman Mailer
In part 1 of this series about Social Change we have seen what is a minority and how it can influence societal change, and in part 2 we talked about the way minorities act and change the majorities, to present in part 3 the social change of groups to finish in part 4 with the exciting subject of the actual minorities of the blockchain and the philosophy of decentralization.

Social Influence: Conformity and the Normative Influence

As Psychology - Minority Influence

Last posts in this series on Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change

Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change

A - Violence:

An Introduction to Violence
The Concepts of Violence, Aggression, and Aggressiveness
The Theories on Violence
The influencers of Violence -Part One - Culture and Social Context
The influencers of Violence -Part Two - Social , Cognitive and Environmental Factors
The ascend of Today's Violence

B -Power:

What is Power? - Introduction
The Nature of PowerThe Dynamics of Power:The Effects and Consequences of Power

C - Change:

Change and Culture
The Theories and Concepts of Change
Factors determining ChangeThe Ways of ChangeA Social Change

Articles from the next series of posts about Social Reality, Violence, Power and Change:
C - Change:(cont.)

A Social Change
  • Part 3 - Minorities as Social Change
  • Part 4 - The minority of Decentralization and the Blockchain
Conclusion - The Series that changed to a Saga

References consulted:

Les concepts fondamentaux de la psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer
La psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer
The social-violence dynamics, Power, change - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer, Planeta / ISPA, 1980
Gustave-Nicolas Fischer is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Psychology Laboratory at the University of Metz.

French, J. R. P., and Raven, B.H. (1959). The bases of social Power.
Raven, B. H. and Rubin, J. Z. (1976). Social psychology: People in groups
Castel, R. The metamorphoses of the social question. Voices, 1998.
Moscovici, S. (1976). Social influence and social change. London: Academic Press
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes.
French, J. R. P., Morrison, H. W., and Levinger, G. (1960). Coercive Power and forces affecting conformity
Dahl, R.A. (1957), The Concept of Power.
Giddens, Anthony, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, 1971.
Grabb, Edward G., Theories of Social Inequality: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives,1990.
Weber, Max, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology,1968.
Lewin, K. (1948) ‘Action Research and Minority Problems’, in G.W. Lewin (ed.),Researching Social Conflicts , New York: Harper and Row
Parsons, T. (1966). Societies: Evolutionary and comparative perspectives.
Levy, A. (1986) Second-order planned change: Definition and conceptualization, Organisational Dynamics
Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J.H., Fisch, R. (1974) Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution. New York, Norton.

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The reason I ended up on Steemit was that Facebook suddenly disabled my account with my website I promoted on Facebook etc.. all having been deleted instantly and out of the blue. It was dreams then which led me here by keeping telling me that "a new fair currency system is there I should definitely be part of"

The first day I was here it felt like a time loop, as if I jumped several months, so quickly I familiarized with the way all works here.
Just recently I visited the Facebook interface once more, and I tell you, the energy felt sooo outdated and antediluvian. I immediately shut the website down so outdated it felt.

So in a way, the change from facebook to Steemit was a change from the majority to the minority, but once in, the minority feels like the majority, or should I say we are a conglomerate of powerful Souls which can literally move houses? ;)

Steemit is the essence of social media, and it congregates brilliant people spreading new alternatives, as a minority that in the future will be a majority, and maybe then it loses its fun.
Social media mainstream is just like a schizophrenic repetition of the news of the general media and adds no value to an information created to confuse your knowledge and sense of reality.
facebook is 97% shit and 3 % of a low-value information, but steemit is opposite.

Users of the traditional social media, give corporations their data free mining, they get no rewards and only generate profit for the power group of the financial stakeholders. And it is an open door the interferences of power with access to "back-ends" to exert surveillance.
Steemit is the first social media trying to balance the difficult relation of people and money and create the first infrastructure to integrate the new attention economy (a real and unique innovation).
Trying to create a structure where people can act in equalitarian ways is a very difficult problem to solve in code and cyber-communities.

The minority is more likely to be affected if the view of this minority is consistent and flexible, and is welcomed by the majority. Adopting a consistent and non-hesitant view that increases the appeal of the majority to it, thereby increasing the chances of adaptation to the minority opinion. Any hesitant views of a minority, however, could lead to the exclusion of the majority of the minority's views and claims.

The actual flux migration from traditional social media to steemit. shows that this little minority will the majority in the future, :)

Minorities arts which i like in this post you teach us all about minorities art it is another thing that i should not understand because i have not readed it part 1 now i am going to read the part 1 to understand full story thanks for reading this little comment Bye god bless you very much..!!!

Thanks please go ahead, this saga is getting a big book. :)

Great thought about minorities as social influence.. I am waiting for your second part.. But you first publish in your language.. For that i can't understand but today you publish it in English ..@charlie777pt

Thanks, you're welcome back to read it and comment.

Beautiful post

Your comments are not adding value to this post or steemit. :(