Group Displays of Aggression: Adaptive?
Institutionalised method of violence is used to maintain white supremacy in response to the emancipation and enfranchisement of black slaves.
US Census estimated 4, 742 lynchings occurred between 1882 and 1968.
Often pre organised/advertised and attracted large crowds with a carnival like atmosphere with as many as 15,000 people
The Power Threat Hypothesis -Blalock (1967)
Groups that pose a threat to the majority are more likely to be discriminate against and to be the subject of violent action.
Emancipated black slaves posed a threat to the economic stability/wealth of white farmers.
Racist myths of “negroes” uncontrollable desires to rape white women, was often used in defence of lynchings.
AO2 –Social Explanations
Conformity in Social Transitions
Emancipation of black slaves creates clear us/them mentality (in-group/out-group)
Due to white Americans' fear of ‘Negroes’
Turned to ‘lynch law’ to maintain their sense of control.
Social transition (after collapse of slavery)
white community felt at risk
cooperative group defence + antagonism toward ‘out-group’ (ie. Whites conform to the antagonistic group norm).
Evaluation of Social Theory –it may be evolutionary after all!
Boyd & Richerson (1990)
Found that the groups in which cooperation flourished, were those that thrived.
This supports the theory that inmajority groups at risk of losing their majority power position due to social change, individual self interests give way to conformity (even to a brutal majority!)
The nature of the social threat is vague and poorly defined
Is it a direct physical threat (as in rape)
Or is it a more vague social/power/economic threat??
Brazil & Clark (2006)
Reviewed lynchings and found evidence that contradicted the theory.
Eg: in one town, the FEWER the Afro-Brazilians,...