To understand spiral of silence it’s important to understand groupthink: the notion that because we crave group unity and social cohesion we endorse less sound ideas or decisions when evaluating these ideas or decision points in group settings rather than on our own. In a similar way spiral of silence theory describes what happens when people choose not to articulate certain ideas or beliefs because they perceive that their ideas or beliefs won’t be well-received and that these now-revealed differences between the person and the rest of the group will lead to the group ostracizing the person. It’s important to note that spiral of silence doesn’t necessarily maintain that good ideas or beliefs are suppressed—we presume that problematic ideas or beliefs are also ostracized. Therefore spiral of silence itself does not presume any normative stance. Good ideas bad ideas and neutral ideas may all be silenced and outcomes may be positive negative or neutral as a result. For instance think about the ways in which hate speech in America can be chastised or normalized. When hate groups get away with acts of hate speech under the auspices of free speech others feel emboldened to engage in similar hateful acts. But when those acts are chastised and penalized we tend to see downticks in the instances of hate speech. In these moments it’s not that the people who might otherwise tend toward hate speech stop believing hateful things; rather they feel less comfortable uttering hate speech for fear of social isolation. When these people commune in groups of others who share their beliefs suddenly they feel emboldened once again to commit the acts of hate speech. And so spiral of silence isn’t normative but it is absolutely descriptive: of the ways in which people do or do not engage in social discourse and social interaction because of the perceived norms of the groups in which they interact. The instructor has posted discussion questions to the Discussion Board for this week. Requirements: | .doc file | Discussion | 2 pages Double spaced Does the anonymity enabled by the internet diminish the likelihood that people’s attitudes beliefs or behaviors will be silenced? Why or why not? What are some recent events you’ve seen covered in the news that can be explained by spiral of silence theory? In those examples who was silenced? What viewpoints did they hold that led those around them to silence them? Each question one page Does the anonymity enabled by the internet diminish the likelihood that people’s attitudes beliefs or behaviors will be silenced? Why or why not?What are some recent events you’ve seen covered in the news that can be explained by spiral of silence theory? In those examples who was silenced? What viewpoints did they hold that led those around them to silence them? Each question one page ‘
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