Counteracting Strategies

When social control is excessive, people can use three basic strategies for counteracting it—they can escape, revolt, or use passive resistance (Skinner, 1953). With the defensive strategy of escape, people withdraw from the controlling agent either physically or psychologically. People who counteract by escape find it difficult to become involved in mthnate personal relationships, tend to be mistrustful of people, and prefer to live lonely lives of noninvolvement.

People who revolt agamst society's controls behave more actively, counterattacking the controlling agent. People can rebel through vandalizing public property, tormenting teachers, verbally abusmg other people, pilfering equipment from employers, provoking the police, or overthrowing established organizations such as religions or governments.

People who counteract control through passive resistance are more subtle than those who rebel and more irritating to the controllers than those who rely on escape. Skhmer (1953) believed that passive resistance is most likely to be used where escape and revolt have failed. The conspicuous feature of passive resistance is stubbornness. A child with homework to do finds a dozen excuses why it cannot be finished; an employee slows down progress by undermining the work of others.

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