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Resistance and Persuasion

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Do we need to convince you that persuasion is an important topic for the social
sciences? Probably not. You know that humans are social beings. Our communication,
psychology, social organization, political structures, market
choices—in short, everything we do—is interpersonally coordinated. Persuasion
is one of the important tools to achieve these alliances.

What about resistance? Do we need to convince you that resistance is the
most important element in the persuasion process? Well, we believe it is. Resistance
is an initial condition for persuasion. Without resistance, persuasion,
like preaching to the choir, is unnecessary babble. It is the resistance that requires
persuasion.

It is our view that resistance is the key element in persuasion. But it also is
a neglected element. Most of the research from communication, marketing, social
psychology, and political psychology has considered persuasion a way to
increase the power of the message. Resistance reduction is a different side to
the persuasion equation, one that has been relatively unexplored so far. We hope
that this volume will focus attention on this other half—the neglected half—of
the persuasion process.
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