2011 | 10 | 20 | 81-111
Article title

THE INFLUENCE OF BELONGING TO AN ASSOCIATION ON INDIVIDUALS' SOCIO-POLITICAL DISPOSITIONS, THEIR ACTIVITY AND CREATIVITY (Wplyw przynaleznosci do grup interesu na predyspozycje spoleczno-polityczne, aktywnosc i kreatywnosc jednostek)

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Interest groups, associations and social organizations are nowadays key social elements that influence the quality of social and political life. There are many ways in which they affect social and political systems, and most obvious of these seem to be the effects found on the macro scale, namely the fact that groups represent people's opinions, shape the political agenda, complement the system of political representation, and oppose the introduction of unpopular decisions. All of these and many other effects on the macro scale are of great importance and are often subjects of scholarly research. However, there are also effects on the micro scale, that is the effects on individuals. The aim of this article is to point out and analyze, mostly on the American example, how the fact of belonging to a group and being an active member can influence individuals' predispositions, activity and consequently their creativity. The author reaches a conclusion that there is a significant relation. People belonging to groups, and especially those being active in them, gain a lot in terms of socially desirable characteristics. The activity within a group helps individuals become more self-confident, get more self-esteem, and gain social skills that help in social relations. All of this can affect the potential for creativity, as individuals who are more self-confident and better informed tend to think more boldly and express themselves more courageously, which consequently helps creativity. Despite all the positive effects of groups, one can definitely also find many potential dangers and disadvantages. As to the individual level, we can assume that belonging to some groups may make some individuals become more hostile towards members of other groups. The same concerns the potential for creativity, namely belonging to some kind of groups, especially those clearly promoting inner conformism may decrease the level of creativity. Therefore, very much depends on the type of a group that we are talking about. Most of the groups seem to have positive effects, but some, in some circumstances, may have negative influence in this regard.
  • Konrad Oswiecimski, Akademia Ignatianum w Krakowie, Instytut Politologii, ul. Kopernika 26, 31-501 Krakow, Poland
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