Trevor Pinch: "Stanley Milgram and the Sonic Imaginary"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - The Rausing Room
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: H. Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

Office for History of Science

Trevor Pinch, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: "Stanley Milgram and the Sonic Imaginary"


Abstract
Stanley Milgram is best known as the Yale social psychologist who used a fake electrical shock machine to demonstrate obedience to authority amongst ordinary American citizens. What is lesser known is his PhD research at Harvard, which was a comparative study of conformity amongst Norwegian and French citizens. I show how the key to Milgram’s PhD research was an unusual use of sound which enabled him to travel to Norway and France and rework Asch’s famous experiments in conformity. The setup of using fake recordings was later the essence of his work at Yale with the shock machine. I develop the notion of a “sonic imaginary” as an extension of STS ideas into sound studies.