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Part 2: Obstacles to Anti-TPP Coordination: A Social Psychological Account

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(Article changed on January 25, 2014 at 01:51)

This is the second part of a five-part series: Sleeping Through the TPP Coup: Why a Trans-National Corporate Power Grab That Hurts Almost Everyone Is Arousing So Little Outcry


Part 1: What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, And Why Don't I Care?

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Part 2: 

Obstacles to Anti-TPP Coordination: A Social Psychological Account

Part 3: The Puzzle of "Liberal" Obama's Support for the TPP

Part 4: Pitting Fear of Our Complicity Against the Fear to Resist the TPP

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Part 5: Battling the TPP with Enlightenment, Love and a Thirst For Meaning in the Face of Death


The first part of this series introduced the Trans Pacific Partnership "trade deal" scam, identified its potential dangers, as well as the dangers of allowing it to be "fast-tracked" through Congress. It also posed the question: why have activists had so much difficulty raising the mass awareness and mass outrage that the TPP threat warrants?


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This part draws on social psychology paradigms to explore some potential answers to that question.


Social psychology, in a nutshell, is the study of how social influences and related psychological processes affect people's behavior, thoughts and attitudes. Though social psychology offers powerful conceptual tools for making sense of our social world, it cannot provide a definitive answer to the question of why anti-TPP resistance leaves so much to be desired. No social psychological theory can ever reliably explain a single historical event because all historical events tend to have confounded multiple causes.  All I can do is provide some scientifically-based scaffolding to your speculation on these questions.


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Ian Hansen is an Associate Professor of psychology and the 2017 president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility.

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