International Journal of Group Tensions

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 31–51 | Cite as

Toward a Psychology of Societal Change and Stability: The Case of Human Rights and Duties

  • Fathali M. Moghaddam
  • Elena Lvina
Article

Abstract

A distinction is made between two types of psychology concerned with: performance capacity, the abilities of individuals tested in isolation; and performance style, the way things get done and the meanings ascribed to phenomena. Causal explanations are appropriate for performance capacity, and normative ones for performance style. Traditional psychology has focused predominantly on performance capacity and causation. Societal change and stability, it is argued, involves meaning systems and are best understood in terms of performance style and normative models. Stability is achieved through “carriers,” flexible vehicles that help to sustain meaning systems. As our illustrative example, we consider the topic of human rights and duties. Carriers in some situations widen a gap between formal law and actual behavior. This gap, we argue, is in part due to the faster maximum speed of change in legal and other macrolevel spheres, relative to the psychological level.

cultural change rights duties globalization 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fathali M. Moghaddam
    • 1
  • Elena Lvina
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentGeorgetown UniversityWashington DC
  2. 2.Samara State Teachers Training UniversityRussia

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