A social and criminological prospect of Psychological Reactance Theory
Abstract. This essay seeks to borrow assumptions and components of Psychological Reactance Theory (PRT), in a social and criminological prospect, as a methodological hypothesis to find a correlation between an antisocial attitude and the reaction of a person subject to a law that threatened, or eliminated, his free behaviours. The theory applies to the comparison between two cases that most threatened person’s free behaviours: the forced women’s cloistered life during the Modern Age and the management of Covid-19 pandemic in Italy. The social disorganization and the symbolic interactionist theories were mainly used in this analysis. Finally, it has been possible to set a heuristic value on PRT in a social and criminological prospect; to think of the unaccomplished reactance striving as a potential criminogen variable; to point out the usefulness of strategies for reducing reactance for inducing compliance of people subject to the law; to envisage that the unappeased motivational state of reactance could be an indicator of social dangerousness to prognosticate a deviant behaviour.
This article was submitted anonymously for evaluation by two expert reviewers, with a positive outcome.
SUMMARY: 1. Introduction. – 2. Reacting to God’s law. – 3. PRT and the social disorganization theory. – 3.1. The origin of the forced women’s cloistered life. – 3.2. The management of Covid-19 pandemic in Italy. – 4. Forcing the confinement: from quarantine to lockdown. – 5. Forcing the confinement: the Counter-Reformation policy and the new regulae. – 6. Reactance to confinement: the unaccomplished reactance striving as a non-oriented criminogenetic potential. – 7. To control reactance: some strategies for inducing compliance of people subject to the law. – 8. Conclusion.
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