According to some criminological literature (Weber, 2005), illegitimate detention and human rights violation as consequence of anti-terrorism measures are to be considered crimes of obedience. Indeed, in a previous research Passini and Morselli (2010) explored how people react in front of the decision of sending innocents to anti-terrorist detention camps. Results showed that people respond differently when an illegitimate request (i.e. illegitimate detention) is put forward by a democratic or an authoritarian authority. When people perceive authorities as democratic they tend to obey, notwithstanding the legitimacy of requests. Following these results, the present research aimed to verify, in more details, whether the perception of democracy may lead to blind obedience and acceptance of human rights violations. Three experimental studies – with both attitudinal and behavioural dependent variables – are illustrated. In each of them, the perception of democracy of the governmental institution which violates the rights was manipulated. Results confirm that when people consider the authority as democratic, they are more likely to accept undemocratic procedures. On the other hand, all the three studies point out that people oriented towards moral inclusion (Opotow, 1990) are more likely to have critical attitudes towards authority, independently from the perceived level of democracy of authority. Besides, they are the more likely to disobey and to engage concrete actions.

Accepting human rights violation under a democratic or authoritarian system

PASSINI, STEFANO
2010

Abstract

According to some criminological literature (Weber, 2005), illegitimate detention and human rights violation as consequence of anti-terrorism measures are to be considered crimes of obedience. Indeed, in a previous research Passini and Morselli (2010) explored how people react in front of the decision of sending innocents to anti-terrorist detention camps. Results showed that people respond differently when an illegitimate request (i.e. illegitimate detention) is put forward by a democratic or an authoritarian authority. When people perceive authorities as democratic they tend to obey, notwithstanding the legitimacy of requests. Following these results, the present research aimed to verify, in more details, whether the perception of democracy may lead to blind obedience and acceptance of human rights violations. Three experimental studies – with both attitudinal and behavioural dependent variables – are illustrated. In each of them, the perception of democracy of the governmental institution which violates the rights was manipulated. Results confirm that when people consider the authority as democratic, they are more likely to accept undemocratic procedures. On the other hand, all the three studies point out that people oriented towards moral inclusion (Opotow, 1990) are more likely to have critical attitudes towards authority, independently from the perceived level of democracy of authority. Besides, they are the more likely to disobey and to engage concrete actions.
International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting
31
31
Morselli D.; Passini S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/91650
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