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Hazing and sociology: essay by Dave Lukow

Excerpt:

Some experts have suggested that hazing may promote loyalty to the group, as well as increase the attractiveness of joining the group for outsiders. Yet, even the possible truth of these claims should be used as an argument against permitting hazing. The fact that these heinous actions draw in new members and boosts their allegiance to leaders who are then abusing them only shows why it is so important that hazing be stopped. In this regard, world-renowned hazing expert and Buffalo State College graduate Hank Nuwer describes hazing as “addictive.”

Hazing is addictive in its ability to suck victims in and increase their dependence on the harmful group. Certainly, it is troublesome for victims to be lured into and become addicted to something that puts them in danger. Additionally, the group atmosphere of hazing has frequently led offenders to relegate the blame for their atrocious actions on the group, rather than recognizing their own responsibility for what had occurred. This reduction of moral responsibility is hazardous in its ability to empower hazers to act without the restraint of ethical standards. As such, developing a comprehensive sociological understanding of why groups haze is critical.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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