In June 2016 we published a review of recent work addressing issues raised by the Milgram paradigm. As we note in the paper, there has recently been a resurgence of interest in this due (a) to increased scrutiny of Milgram’s findings (partly as a result of access to the archive at Yale University) and also to the development of new, ethically acceptable, variants of his paradigm.
The review argues that in light of this recent work, the standard textbook account of Milgram's work is highly problematic. As an alternative to this, it concludes:
"The real power of Milgram’s studies was to show how leaders, followers, and the institutions in which they are enmeshed can create worlds in which acts of cruelty against outgroups come to be seen as virtuous rather than vicious, and in which those who perpetrate them under- stand themselves to be heroes rather than villains. Criti- cally, this occurs not because perpetrators are unaware that they are doing harm, but rather because they are convinced they are doing good."
- Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Birney, M. E. (2016). Questioning authority: New perspectives on Milgram's 'obedience' research and its implications for intergroup relations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 6–9.