Kenneth Gergen Defines Enlightenment Effects

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    • 00:06

      [Enlightenment Effects]

    • 00:11

      DR. KENNETH GERGEN: When I originally[Kenneth J. Gergen, PhD, Senior ResearchProfessor of Psychology, Swarthmore College]developed the idea of enlightenment effects,it was partly as a critique to my field of social psychology,which was attempting to establish knowledgeby observation.Sort of saying, this is the way people functionand trying to argue that, well, once you'd

    • 00:32

      DR. KENNETH GERGEN [continued]: announce that as the way people function, and you wouldenlighten people as to how they function-- let's say,they are obedient to authority-- that that very announcementcould affect the culture in such a waythat they wouldn't do that anymoreor they would change their behavior.In effect, you can't accumulate knowledge about cultural life,

    • 00:56

      DR. KENNETH GERGEN [continued]: because the very studying of it and feedingback that information into society will change it.Now, that was partly a critique of the accumulationof behavioral knowledge, but as years have gone by,I've come to see it in a more general way,in a somewhat more positive way, you might say.

    • 01:16

      DR. KENNETH GERGEN [continued]: And that is one of the aims, you might say, of social scienceat this point becomes indeed to point outthat which people do in order to enlighten them in such a waythat they might want to think otherwise.That is, this would be, let's say,what a good critical psychologist would do.

    • 01:38

      DR. KENNETH GERGEN [continued]: You make these assumptions, the critical psychologistmight say, but look at what these assumptions aredoing to us.Critical discourse analysis would be the same way.Look at the way our language functions to create gapsbetween us, to alienate is.Just the way we talk.

    • 01:59

      DR. KENNETH GERGEN [continued]: Look at the way in which we write scholarly papers, howit alienates us, how it sets me apart from you, howit makes me superior to you, and with that consciousness,perhaps we could do otherwise.So originally I saw it as a critique,now I saw it as a means of tryingof actually doing scholarship to bring about change.

Kenneth Gergen Defines Enlightenment Effects

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Abstract

Professor Kenneth Gergen describes enlightenment effect as the theory that you can not accumulate knowledge about cultural life, because studying it and discussing it will change societal behavior.

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Kenneth Gergen Defines Enlightenment Effects

Professor Kenneth Gergen describes enlightenment effect as the theory that you can not accumulate knowledge about cultural life, because studying it and discussing it will change societal behavior.

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