The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo (Book Review)

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Bigger, Stephen (2009)

Its relevance for education is that the school, College or university is also a system with embedded power relationships, which can go sour. There will be bullies, power freaks, managing by sarcasm; the system needs to control such behaviour as unacceptable and to advocate positive and empowering management strategies. Pupils and students should be encouraged to be self-validating and contributing unique individuals (called individuation as opposed the the dehumanising de-individuation (p.242). They need to consider how to cope with peer and power pressure and be able to retain their inner individuality, their sense of meaning an worth, even in dehumanising systems and circumstances. This will be a challenging piece of curriculum development. The final chapter is a good starting-point – ‘Resisting Situational Influences and Celebrating Heroism’:\ud “Heroism supports the ideals of a community and serves as an extraordinary guide, and it provides and exemplary role model for prosocial behaviour. The banality of heroism means that we are all heroes in waiting. It is a choice we may all be called upon to make at some point in time.” (p.488).\ud This is heroism in everyday life, as a natural moral response to the unacceptable, not the unreachable elite heroes of fiction.
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