Why does hazing occur? Some research discusses the function of hazing as rites of passage or as an expression of group solidarity. Hazing can bring members together, validate one another in the group’s eyes, symbolize transition into group membership, bolster group cohesion, and create group conformity within particular hierarchies.
Research on insider’s attitudes towards hazing highlights interesting dynamics within organizations. Individual members often have negative thoughts about hazing, but individuals are unlikely to protest the practice in-group settings. Power dynamics within those groups normalize hazing and silence opposition to it.
The research suggests that hazing takes on a particular character within Greek Letter Organizations (GLOs). In fraternities, for example, where membership and group identity are constructed around ideas of the “all-male” group, hazing can serve as a validation of masculinity and a suppression of femininity. In addition, in GLOs that have been historically raced, hazing can express racial identities, in-group unity, and belonging.