The Muted Group Theory. An Overview

Essay, 2015

6 Pages


The Muted Group Theory was initially proposed by social anthropologists, Ardener and Ardener, in their book 'Belief and The Problem of Women'. The proposers of this hypothesis say that muted groups are those gatherings in the society that have practically no power and that they experience difficulty when communicating or giving out their voice on issues in the society on the grounds that they have less power in participating in the making of the language they use. The power rests upon the majority. Thus, for them to pass their recognitions to the society they should re-encode their thoughts and activities to make them comprehended in the general population circle. In understanding this theory, it just implies that sure minority groups or rather aggregates that are seen to be minority in the society think that it is difficult to communicate in a language that the majority has produced for the overall population. This is on the grounds that the language supports the creators over a second or outsider that uses that language. The idea of minority or majority can be based on sex, age, skin shading, and religion, spot of source or class. The minority are in this way the referred to as the muted group (Ardener and Ardener 1975).

This theory was further expanded by Kramarae (1984) who recommended that The Muted Group theory starts with the thought that language is culture bound. She takes a feminine position in her contentions. Kramarae contends that in light of the fact that men have more power over women, men have more impact over the language we utilize and, along these lines, these outcomes in a society support men more than women in light of the fact that language is a man-made creation that is skewed to benefit only men. This leaves women as the muted group. Moreover, The Muted Group Theory depends on three assumptions. The first assumption is that women’s perception of the world is shaped by different experiences in the society. These experiences are as a result of them performing different tasks from what their male counterparts do. The second assumption is that men politically control power. They use this power to suppress the ideas proposed by women and block women from gaining public acceptance. The third assumption is that, in order for women to be accepted into the public sphere in areas such as leadership, they have to convert their ideas, conversations, speech and actions to be in conformity to the language of men.

She further developed several hypotheses based on this theory. These are; women find it hard to express them when compared to men. This is because the language is made to be used by men. Secondly, it is easier for women to understand what men mean more easily than the men can understand what women mean when communicating. This is because women have learnt to encode and understand the men’s language. Women communicate with each other using a media that is not accepted by men. When women talk men will often be heard saying ‘they are nagging, gossiping, doing nothing, women talk, nonsense…’ and all other word that are used to describe what women say to each other. But, when men talk, this is called a man-talk or business meetings and so on. Women are less satisfied with communication. This can be illustrated on a date, the man is the one who is likely to bring up the topic of discussion and the woman is forced to feign interest in it. Men will always want to control a conversation’s course and mute other topics that women bring up. She says that men find women’s talk uninteresting to them. Therefore, this muted group is not interested in creating new words (Kramarae 1984).

The sociologist, Sigmund Freud is broadly criticized by Friedan (1963) on his theory of feminine castration complex and the penis envy. She argues against Freud's thoughts on the position of women and nature's plan for women. Freud had once composed that he trusted that all changing activity in law and training ought to consider the way that nature has decided the lady's position and fate. Her fate is resolved through magnificence, her appeal, and sweetness. That what women have been denied has been remunerated through law and traditions. That in her young age, a lady is a loved dear and in her adult years, she is considered as a cherished wife. This is, along these lines, a declaration of how women had been changed in the society and made to feel like they need to comply with what their male partners need them to be. Friedan keeps on arguing that Freud Sigmund's idea of the 'penis jealousy' was utilized to mark professional women as neurotic and that their position was that of being housewives. Their position was in the kitchen and at home while men had positions in industries and military. Amid that time, these gender stereotypes made women not educated enough to be able to criticize Sigmund Freud. In this way, they had no entrance to a full education and opportunities that were thought to be for men. They were a muted group (Friedan 1963).

Skinner (1966) was of the view that behavior of an organism is as a result of the histories of reinforcements. Groups are in this manner considered muted on the grounds that they have been segregated in participation in the making of the language. For instance, when somebody takes in a second language, it is still harder for him to adjust to it. In some cases, it may sound insignificant when contrasted with his first language. In his book 'The Behavior of Organisms', he says that fortification or reinforcement is the essential process that shapes conduct and musings. This support can be negative or positive. Negative fortification is discipline. Uplifting feedback is what acclaims and urges individuals to do different things. In this view, The Muted Group Theory can be said to be as a negative's consequence of reinforcement.

Bandura (1986) while adding to the Social Cognitive Theory of Human functioning proceeded to fortify that man is a cognitive, vicarious, self-administrative and self-intelligent organism. His theory debate The Mutated Group Theory whereby he expresses that everybody has control of how he or she thinks. In this manner the fact that there exists a muted group, the muting is not as an activities' aftereffect of the prevailing dominant group. Therefore, people have the power to choose whether they are dominant or muted. In short the thought of being affected by others is the thing that he is stating that it is because of individual discernments and activities. The same point is taken by Erik Erikson on his hypotheses on Social Development; the ego psychology and the Theory of Personality. Then again, Ivan Pavlov, a Russian neurologist did an examination and set up that organisms' actions or position in the society are as a result of pressures that the environment has exerted on them. He did this by researching on dogs where he concentrated on reflex activities and inferred that they were as a result of involuntary reaction to pain and stress. His studies found that organisms' actions can be affected and controlled (Allan, Hersen, and Kazdin 2012). He does not in any way clearly state that this shows that the dominant group has control over the muted group. But this is the case.


Excerpt out of 6 pages


The Muted Group Theory. An Overview
Bachelor of Commerce
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
387 KB
muted, group, theory, thesis, assignment, The Problem of Women, Women, Kramarae, Friedan, Sigmund Freud, Skinner, Bandura, Social Cognitive Theory, Gender, Gender Influences, Social Mystique
Quote paper
Dennis Nangabo (Author), 2015, The Muted Group Theory. An Overview, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Muted Group Theory. An Overview

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free