Acting otherwise: Resistance, agency, and subjectivities in Milgram’s studies of obedience.

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    • Abstract:
      In this account of the Obedience to Authority experiments, we offer a richer and more dynamic depiction of the subjects’ acts and reactions. To paraphrase Milgram, our account tries to examine the central elements of the situation as perceived by its research subjects. We describe a model of the experimenter–subject system that moves beyond experimentalism and humanism, positing instead a model that considers experimenter–subject relations and extends both spatially and temporally past the experiment’s traditionally assumed limits: the walls of the laboratory and its canonical methods. Following Butler and Krause, we propose an approach that attends to quotidian, subtle, and unregistered ways of acting otherwise. Taking the Yale archive’s collection of Milgram’s subject files, audio recordings, and notes as historical traces of the experimenter–subject system, our analysis introduces a grounded understanding of how Milgram’s cut between obedience and disobedience renders invisible all but the most explicit manifestations of resistance or ways of acting otherwise. Investigating Milgram’s work through an experimenter–subject systems model illuminates previously undocumented affective and temporal dimensions of laboratory life and serves as a template for assessing other experimental situations. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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