Any thorough examination of the several factors bearing on the development or perpetuation of individual & social dysfunction would be severely remiss in failing to identify & address those exerting the most influence, especially those demonstrating a capacity to aggravate or alleviate the circumstance in question and a tendency to do so. For that reason it is imperative that our examination of societal dysfunction include, among other significant activities, a thorough analysis of societal influencers and the development of a general intimacy with the most prevalent, the most frequently observed, and the most powerful of influences, generally speaking, in the abstract, as well as more directly and precisely, and more importantly, in fact, actual influencers: the entities identified and personified.
On the one hand it is significant to determine, for example, that the very general ‘medical community’ exerts a specific and significant influence on a given subject, but knowing more precisely exactly who within the medical community actively exerts the most influence here and why is necessary to fully grasp this aspect of a certain problem and to be able to develop a real world situational awareness of the full breadth and depth of the issue at hand.
The human brain has an amazing ability to fill in missing information. There are several experiments around the brain filling in the gaps of missing visual data, e.g., black and white photos where people see color due to the inclusion of certain cues, words missing letters or misspelled that people are capable of reading quickly through and not even noticing the errors until their attention is called to them, and any number of optical illusions where our brains simply fill in missing parts of images from past experience, knowing what should be there.
Unfortunately we sometimes have a tendency to do this when attempting to address real world social problems. Absent complete information, we tend to fill in the blanks. Who did something? We do not know specifically, but we conclude that “they” did it. A lack of thorough analysis to identify if ‘they’ exist and who ‘they’ are and why ‘they’ do what they do misses the opportunity to focus on the locus of a particular aspect of a problem and reduce it to an accurate, surmountable, human scale.
Societal Influence Analysis is the center of study and practice that seeks to humanize and demystify social influence to better directly address problems of social dysfunction and their causes.