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Opinion-based groups and the restoration of civil society

McGarty, C., Lala, G. and Thomas, E.F. (2012) Opinion-based groups and the restoration of civil society. In: Jonas, Kai and Morton, Thomas, (eds.) Restoring Civil Societies: The Psychology of Intervention and Engagement Following Crisis. Wiley, Chichester, UK, pp. 250-264.

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Human achievements and human failures are almost always collective achievements and failures. While it might be true that we die alone, we rarely manage to overcome danger or recover from illness without the help of others. At the same time those dangers also stem chiefly from other people. Both the conditions that lead to crisis and the efforts to recover from crisis rest upon the action and inactions of other people. The transformations in modern societies, especially those witnessed in the last 120 years, mean that the world has become a surprisingly safe place. There are around seven billion people on the planet, many of whom live in appalling poverty, and are hence especially vulnerable to natural disasters, but despite that, the risk of serious and unexpected harm from the physical environment is very low for most of the planet’s population. People, working collectively, have minimized the dangers of the physical environment. Indeed, they have been so successful in doing this that the greatest dangers that most people now face are from the actions or inactions of other people.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: Wiley
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