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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 84: “Lock-Up”

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of Batman: The Animated Series. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 84: “Lock-Up”

This week, we catch up with a new villain in Gotham City! Arkham Asylum’s chief security guard accuses groups such as the media, police department, and Gotham City bureaucrats for the disorganization and ineffectiveness of the facility. Calling Arkham a “revolving door for maniacs” and asserting that inmates are “turned from monsters into heroes by the permissive liberal media,” the guard’s true nature is revealed and he is fired from the facility. Fueled by bitterness and disillusionment about the legal system, he becomes the menacing, hyper-masculine enforcer called “Lock Up.” Of course, it’s up to Batman – another enforcer – to bring Lock Up back to his senses, and, of course, ensure that he’s nothing like the unempathetic guard who went too far.

In our consideration of Lock Up’s abusive treatment of Arkham’s patients, we explain the similarities between Lock Up and real-life participants in the classic psychology study, The Stanford Prison Experiment (1971). Similar themes arise, such as psychological torture, intimidation, authoritarianism, and social dominance. But does this mean any personality type can be susceptible to the situational influence of having an authority role? We discuss Interactionism as a potential explanation for Lock Up’s behavior – e.g., if a “Police Personality” exists, it’s very likely a combination of disposition and occupational socialization. Listen below for the full episode!

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