Power of Context on Bernie Goetz

1153 words 5 pages
Power of context
In the 1980s, the City of New York was a City polluted with waste and graffiti, where people would always get away with committing a crime. In Malcolm Gladwell’s essay “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime” gives us a probable explanation of how a change like this can happen. The essay is an environmental argument, with varying kinds of a seemingly endless amount of verification, which suggests that crimes can be prohibited depending on what the environment is like. Malcolm Gladwell, provides evidence throughout his entire essay that explains The Power of Context. The Power of Context indicates that the situation people are in has an effect on how they act wherever they are at.
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Gladwells proves that by putting in some money into a bad, dirty and filthy neighborhood and actually making the look nice and clean, then the crimes are less likely to occur. Crime rates will drop down, and less violence will occur around the neighborhood. By someone actually fixing a broken window people around will notice that someone cares, and less people are more likely to follow on that concept. One experiment that Gladwell emphasizes is the Zimbardo experiment. The Zimbardo experiment was used to see how good people would react when they were placed in a bad situation. Philip Zimbardo was the man who choose twenty one of the most normal and healthy people on a psychological test from Stanford University. The guards had the power to do whatever they want to the prisoners. The guards were making the prisoners do pushups, and they would make them strip down and spray them with a fire extinguisher. Under these powers the guard felt that they were a different person. They felt that they were somebody new and that they were not the person they use to be. After the experiment was over one prisoner said “I began to feel that I was loosing my identity” this person felt that he was someone else and forgot who he used to be. The zimbardo experiment was basically to see if an average person would change into a different state of mind. Gladwell shows that by gathering twenty smart and most average people


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