All things considered, conformism enjoys a better reputation than it may deserve. A certain degree of sharing others' ways of thinking and acting is indispensable in social life. The negative side of conformism comes into play only when we embrace ideas and behaviours that conflict with our innermost feelings and do so only in order to belong to the majority. But what is the portrait of the perfect conformist, which social situations encourage such behaviour, which cultures reward it? And what about anti-conformism? It too has a negative side: in order to enhance the difference between ourselves and others we are tempted to reject our group's views... even when our group is right. This volumes sums up what social psychology knows about this phenomenon.
Contents: Introduction: Conformism in an Era of Differences. - 1. Portrait of the Perfect Conformist. - Authoritarian Personality and Conformism. - Personality Traits. - Quality and Quantity of Opinions. - Age, Gender, and Social Status. - 2. Opportunity Makes the Conformist. - Two Fundamental Experiments. - Beyond the Laboratory. - 3. The Culture of Conformism. - Tyranny of the Majority and Standardization. - Conformist Societies and Dominant Values. - Conformist Milieu, Innovative Milieu. - 4. Searching for the Motive. - Personal Utility. - Norm Pressure. - Social Information. - Group Attraction. - Separation and Distinction Among Different Motives. - Conflicting Motives. - 5. Various Aspects of Conformism. - Acceptance, Convergence, and Complacency. - Modelling and Imitation. - "Common Feelings": Emotional Contagion. - 6. Needs, Rationales, and Consequences. - At the Root of Conformism. - Automation and Control. - Advantages and Disadvantages of Conformism. - 7. Mistakes and Reactions. - Mistaken Conformists. - Reaction Anti-Conformists. - Conclusions: Conformism with a New Countenance?. - How to know more about it.
Angelica Mucchi Faina teaches Social Psychology at the University of Perugia (Faculty of Educational Science).