By M. J. Joachim
Collective behavior, defined as a social movement capable of resulting in change, has three distinct sides to its mobility. Each side lives and feeds on the cultural boundaries around them, either helping or harming their position, and sometimes defining social norms through their actions.
Conformity builds power bases, feeding off themselves as what is right, just and honorable. Even if the premise is profoundly false, many will die for such beliefs, as a testimony to their leaders.
Rebellion is the obvious antithesis of conformity, an act that threatens the powerful, often making them react in harsh and confounding ways.
Collective behavior that doesn’t fall into one of the above-mentioned groups, has the ability to make determinations, particularly when social norms are confusing, non-existent or have yet to be clearly defined. It is a more neutral type behavior that doesn’t receive a lot of attention, because it’s often based on the natural trend of how people realistically behave in certain circumstances, based on what they would normally do.
Currently in the U. S., President Obama is hoping for conformity regarding the launching of Obamacare. As President of the United States, he has a huge power base, and wants people to respond in a collective behavior indicating he knows what is best for them.
Rebellion of Obamacare clearly sent off shockwaves around the world recently, especially with the government shutdown. As if that weren’t enough, the website to sign up for Obamacare turned into a mammoth disaster. It’s curious as to why the administration chose a company from Canada to build a U. S. healthcare site. America is the home of Apple and Microsoft, after all. Surely we have the technicians here, and undoubtedly some could use the work, to build the site right here in America.
Collective behavior will likely define if the roll out of Obamacare is a success or failure. In light of the problems, tendencies may be to shrug and forget about it, especially considering the difficulties it has faced with getting launched effectively.
Can you think of some instances where conformity, rebellion or a general consensus defined cultural norms? Are you more of a conformist, rebel or go with the flow and follow what’s natural type of person?
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Photo credit: Rebellion for a hope, Mauricio Garcia Vega, CCA 3.0 License