An institution usually refers to an organisation or place of confinement with its own social roles where behaviour is formally restricted and under the control of specific staff.
Institutional Aggression can be defined as aggressive behaviour that occurs within an institution and is motivated by social forces, rather than anger or frustration.
Institutional aggression Institutions include: Prisons, Hospitals, and Army Bases. They also include Universities, Schools and Training Centres.
Attica and other prison riots in America in the 1970’s led Zimbardo to design and conduct the Stanford Prison Experiment.
The 1990 Strangeways Prison riot was a 25-day prison riot and rooftop protest at Strangeways Prison in Manchester.
Prison aggression In 2006 there were 11, 476 violent incidents in Prisons in England and Wales. In 2002 there were 26,000 violent incidents in U.S. Prisons.
Psychologists have proposed two major explanations for aggression between prisoners in Prisons: Interpersonal factors - the ‘ Importation model ’ Situational factors - the ‘ Deprivation model ’
The ‘Importation model’: (Irwin and Cressey – 1962) This model proposes that the violence and aggression found in prisons and other institutions is imported from the social world outside the prison. The institution does not cause aggression but the inmates import aggressive behaviour and violence from their own social backgrounds and communities outside of the prison.
This social history and associated personality traits are intensified within the fixed limits of the prison and the prison or institution becomes a “pressure cooker” for aggression.
The Deprivation model: Paterline & Peterson (1999) According to this model situational factors are more important in causing aggression than interpersonal factors. The institution deprives the prisoner of personal freedom and individual rights.
Other situational factors that cause aggression are: Crowding Boredom Petty rules Loss of privacy Oppressive regime
Zimbardo argues that it is the prison situation that leads to aggression. Individuals have roles in an institution. This transforms the situation into ‘them and ‘us’ leading to power struggles and conflict. Read the handout: ‘A bad barrel not bad apples.’