Comparison Dissent Vs Disagreement: Meaning, Consequences and Effects

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 559 |

Pages: 2|

3 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 559|Pages: 2|3 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

It is common to read a word and predict its superficial meaning from its context. Instead of analyzing its implicit meaning, humans tend to take words as general, as if it synonyms and itself were the same. This happens with the terms disagreement and dissent. At first glance, they may sound as if it they had identical meetings, but do they? Daniel J. Boorstin argues that there’s a distinction between these terms in the decline of radicalism (1969), and undoubtedly, he does make sense in differentiating these words not by their appearance but by their meaning. Boorstin states that these terms differ because of its roots, its effects on humans, and its consequences of societies.

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The meaning of a word is determined by its history. According to Boorstin,”disagreements” and “dissent” differ because the latter comes from the Latin dis and sentire, which literally means to feel apart from others. In contrast, disagreement means having a lack of consensus or having a different or contradicting opinions about a subject. Because Therefore, historically these words differ in their meaning.

From another perspective, the words produce different effects amongst small groups. “People who disagree have an argument, but people who decide have a quarrel,” states the author as he distinguishes the effects of the words. Because of this, people who disagree are more likely to discuss to to come consensus, to find a better solution. However, people who dissent are more likely to end broken physically, emotionally, or spatially. For example, when a small group of friends or family members debate about a controversial topic, let’s say LGBT rights, people state their opinions. If some people disagree with others’ opinions, they will address what they think could be ameliorated about their opinion. However, if people dissent, they will be completely intolerant about others’ opinions and will probably end up in a fight. Consequently, the terms have different meanings because they exert different pressures and cause different outcomes.

Similarly, the terms have different effects on formal societies. Boorstin states, “A liberal society thrives on disagreement but is killed by dissension. Disagreement is the life blood of democracy, dissension is its cancer.” Like blood is pumped and detoxified through the vessels, arguments are debated and ameliorated to perfection by members of a society. Like cancer destroys healthy cells into minute malignant cells, dissension divides and influences so that the outcome is a polarized society with greedy intentions to make others join their side to fight against the other one. This happens all around the world within governments: usually, in first-world countries, people disagree on laws but tailor them until they are just while in third-world countries, the citizens that are against laws dissent, and the nation becomes polarized. Due to the different, complex consequences these terms have on a society, the words have different meanings.

Although some may think that because one term may lead to another, they mean the same, they are still on different levels and exert different forces. Even though some may think that they mean the same because they are synonymous, not all sentences have the same definitions. Synonyms may resemble an original word, but they will always have different meanings.

In conclusion, dissent and disagreement have different meanings because they exert different pressures that lead to different consequences and have historically segregated.

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Works Cited

  1. Boorstin, D. J. (1969). The decline of radicalism: Reflections of America today. Random House.
  2. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. Macmillan.
  3. Kaczynski, T. (1995). Industrial society and its future. Feral House.
  4. Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice. Harvard University Press.
  5. Sunstein, C. R. (2003). Why societies need dissent. Harvard University Press.
  6. Tannen, D. (1998). The argument culture: Moving from debate to dialogue. Random House.
  7. Zinn, H. (2005). A people's history of the United States. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
  8. Dalton, R. J. (2014). Citizen politics: Public opinion and political parties in advanced industrial democracies. CQ Press.
  9. Fiske, S. T. (1993). Controlling other people: The impact of power on stereotyping. American Psychologist, 48(6), 621-628.
  10. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological review, 98(2), 224.
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Comparison Dissent Vs Disagreement: Meaning, Consequences and Effects. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from
“Comparison Dissent Vs Disagreement: Meaning, Consequences and Effects.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019,
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Comparison Dissent Vs Disagreement: Meaning, Consequences and Effects [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2023 Nov 29]. Available from:
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