Fraternity Hazing: the Affects of Social Influence

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Fraternity Hazing: The Affects of Social Influence Jennifer Dutcher November 28, 2012 Fraternity Hazing: The Affects of Social Influence Attending college is a major milestone in a young adults life. It is a time when individuals begin to establish independence, express their unique qualities, and develop lasting friendships that could either help or hinder their success as a student. University campuses are enriched with social influences, such as people or groups that use affiliation and power to affect the behavior of others. (Feldman, 2011) Fraternities are found on prestigious campuses nationwide, a clear-cut example of a social organization with a particularly high influence. A fraternity is a type of brotherhood that is often thought of as a secret society, involving a hierarchy of members with authority over prospecting pledges. (Greek Life, 2012) The process of pledging typically takes place over a matter of weeks, yet varies with every fraternity. The pledge endures mental and physical anguish to prove oneself worthy of being made a brother. This process is often referred to as hazing, involving various forms of harassment, abuse, or humiliation by way of initiation. (Greek Life, 2012) Fraternity hazing is the embodiment of psychological conformity, compliance, and obedience in association with personal relationships. The Greek Life takes pride in offering a structured society that offers academic advancement, leadership skills, peer camaraderie, and higher employment status as alumni. Often young men possess a strong desire to be a part of this brotherhood and will do anything to become a member. One type of social influence is conformity, a process by which the actions of an individual or group changes the behavior or opinions of others. (Feldman, 2011) Through the process of pledging, the participants engage in social roles of conformity. The

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