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September 28, 2007


Chris Bertram

Yes, see also the Mark Granovetter's even older paper "Threshold Models of Collective Behavior", Am J of Sociology 83 (1978) pp. 1420-42.


I'd not read that particular Kuran paper, thanks for the link. Here's a similar post I made about Hungary



I commented to an acquaintance here, that it all depends on whether there is a split in the army ranks or not. I suspect that split would have to be already apparent to some people, and would have to be reasonably high up.


Your article is very interesting. I don't know if you have heard the (rumor) reports filtering out that Division 33 of the Burmese army has refused to fire on Mandalay protesters. According to reports the army is now fighting each other in Mandalay. Let's hope its true!

Mark Wadsworth

A bit flippant, that post, but yes, this is always how it goes, once the army and police (as human beings) start to give way, the whole thing collapses within days.


lets hope so, but I am glad I am not in Burman and the one who is first to boo. I wonder what their odds are of making in through your narrative?


Hope they pull it off, and not only that chuck out all those corporations and banks that have supported the junta...

All peoples ought to be able to grow their own food, draw their own water and build their own shelter without damaging the environment that produces these neccessities and without middlemen making a profit in between.

Chris Williams

Worth a try. But it didn't work for this particular hero of humanity:


Your senario can only work in a racially homogenous society. Burma does not have that luxury, it's too mixed up.

Chris Williams

bernard - null points. Check out which bit of Romaina it kicked off in.

Matt Munro

In classic conformity theory (eg Asche) you would need around 10% of the Army to openly break the norm in order to start persuading the majority. Even then, if the perceived power of the authority is too great, the majority will conform. The ethinic make of the country and the realative positions of the church and the army within Burmese society are confounding factors. It's certainly true that ehnically diverse populations are more resistent to authoritarian coersion.


You say all it will take is a few people to show disobedience and the rest will follow becasue the cost of concience is greater than the cost of life?? Well, this week thousands have disobayed and paid the price, some with their lives. Nothing seems to have changed. I don't think the choice is between concience and life - the former is not important enough for that. The choice for many is just between different forms of death. Within the millitary, hierarchy causes serious problems for the theory you advance because it effectively isolates people of equal rank, but ties them close to their boss. It is very effective at killing off spontaneous rebellion. The best hope is that one of the top dogs will wake up and lead a rebelion.

In the meantime, we can join the solidarity campaign and lobby those UK firms that pay for the junta (see Sunday Herald newspaper website).

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