Psychology, domination and resistance


  • Stephen Reicher


Psychology — social psychology in particular, group psychology especially — needs to address both domination and resistance, stasis and movement, social reproduction and social change. Any approach which emphasizes the one to the exclusion of the other will necessarily be deficient in its ability to explain both. It may be that, over long periods of time, our social worlds seem stable and set and that their inequalities are destined to last. But change — underpinned by collective action — is always possible and should warn us against eternalizing what is generally only a temporary lull. Perhaps right now, when seemingly strong states like Tunisia and Egypt have folded like a pack of cards and who knows how many others will follow in their wake, this point should be easier to make than at other times. But the same might have been said in 1789, 1830, 1848, 1871, 1917, 1968, 1989. Yet we seem to have short memories. This point at least tends regularly to be forgotten.