Crowds and Collectives

Report
17
Crowds and
Collectives
A detailed study of groups would be
incomplete if it did not consider the
dynamics of larger social collectives.
For centuries people have wondered
at the seemingly inexplicable actions
that people undertake when part of a
large mass of humanity. Juries, teams,
squads, clubs, and cults are all intriguing, but so are riots and rumors;
crowds and crazes; and mobs and
movements. This unit describes
collectives, explains their dynamics,
and seeks to repair their reputation.
 What is collective
behavior?
 What theories explain
collective behavior?
 How different are
collectives from other
types of groups?
Crowds and Collectives
Collectives: Forms
and Features
Collective Dynamics
What are
collectives?
Contagion
Gatherings
Convergence
Crowds
Deindividuation
Collective
movements
Emergent norms
Social
movements
Social identity
Preview
Collectives
are groups
Myth of the
madding
crowd
Studying
groups
What are
collectives?
Relatively large
aggregations of
individuals who
display similarities
in action and
outlook.
Queue
Examples…………..
What are
collectives?

Size: large rather than small

Proximity: together or disbursed

Duration: form and disband rapidly
(but not always)

Conventionality: sometimes
members’ actions are atypical,
unconventional, or aberrant

Relationships among members:
weak associations rather than
cohesive
Characteristics of
Collectives
What are
collectives?
Forms of Collective
Behavior
Gatherings
Social order in
gatherings: Milgram’s
line jumping study
Group
Gathering
Crowd
Crowds

Crowds: street crowds,
mobs, panics
formation processes
and crowd crystals
Milgram’s Study of Crowd Formation
Crowds
McPhail,
Schweingrube, &
Turner’s
observation system
Crowds
 Mobs
celebratory
mobs
lynch mobs
hooliganism
riots
flash
Panics
escape
acquisition
Crowds
Queues sometimes
break down into
crowds, mobs, and
panics


The Who Concert
tragedy
The Love Parade
disaster
Collective
movements




Rumors as
collective
processes
Mass delusions
The War of the
Worlds broadcast
Psychogenic
illness
Collective
movements
Trends
Social
Movements
• Fads
• Crazes
• Trends (fashion, etc.)
•
•
•
•
Reformist
Revolutionary
Reactionary
Communitarian
The “Arab
Spring” as a
social
movement
The surprising events of the
Arab Spring are still being
discussed and debated, but
some political scientists
have suggested that these
were high-tech rebellions.
The protesters became
what technology expert
Howard Rheingold (2002)
calls a smart mob: a social
movement organized
through the use of
information technology,
including cell phones and
the Internet.
Collective Dynamics
Contagion
Theories
Deindividuation
Theory
Emergent
Norm
Theories
Social
Identity
Theory
Contagion
Le Bon’s crowd psychology
 Contagion:
The spread of
behaviors, attitudes, and affect
through social collectives
Social network analyses of
collective processes
 Gladwell’s
analysis of connectors,
mavens, salespeople
Convergence
“Every man has a mob self and an
individual self, in varying proportions”
D. H. Lawrence

Similarities among those who join crowds and collectives

Relative deprivation: people whose attainments fall below
their expectations are more likely to join social
movements.
van Zomeren et al., 2004
Deindividuation
Conditions of Deindividuation
State of Deindividuation
Anonymity
Responsibility
Loss of self-awareness
Group membership
↓
Others (overload,
Loss of self-regulation
drug usage, chanting)
1. Low self-monitoring
2. Failure of normative
control
3. Decline in selfgenerated
reinforcements
4. Failure to form longrange plans
Deindividuated Behaviors
Behavior is emotional,
impulsive, irrational,
regressive, with high
intensity
1. Not under stimulus
control
2. Counternormative
3. Pleasurable
Deindividuation

reduced
responsibility
(diffusion of
responsibility)

membership in
large groups

heightened state of
physiological
arousal
The Deindividuated
State
Research suggests that the
deindividuated state has two
basic components:


reduced self-awareness
(minimal
self-consciousness, etc.)

altered experience
(disturbances in
concentration and
judgment, etc.)

Support for this model is
limited
Emergent norms
Turner and Killian’s emergent
norm theory

Crowds often develop
unique standards for
behavior and that these
atypical norms exert a
powerful influence on
behavior.
Turning the strange into the
normal
Example: Baiting Crowds
Social identity
Collective behavior is
sustained by identity
processes

collectives sustain rather than undermine individuals’
identities

ingroup/outgroup processes increase self-categorization

individuation: collective behavior in some cases
represents an attempt to reestablish a sense of
individuality
Collectives are
groups
The “crowd-as-mad”
assumption: Collectives
differ from more
routine groups in kind
rather than in degree
This view of collectives
is questionable: Like
groups in general,
collectives are often
misunderstood and
mismanaged
Collectives are
groups
Collectives, like many
groups are
misunderstood and
mismanaged.
Fortunate, the
scientifici study of
groups provides a
means to gain a deeper
understanding of
groups and their
dynamics.
Crowds and Collectives
Collectives: Forms
and Features
Collective Dynamics
What are
collectives?
Contagion
Gatherings
Convergence
Crowds
Deindividuation
Collective
movements
Emergent norms
Social
movements
Social identity
Review
Collectives
are groups
Myth of the
madding
crowd
Studying
groups

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