- Slides: 21
Collective Behavior Crowds
Collective Behavior • What is collective behavior? – The actions, thoughts and emotions that involve large numbers of people who do not conform to established social norms • Remember: norms are simply expected rules of behavior – It is often unstructured, unpredictable and spontaneous
Collective Behavior • The key element of collective behavior is the…CROWD • Not duration but actual number of people
Crowds • A crowd is… – A temporary gathering of people – who share some common focus of attention – often influence one another
Types of Crowds 1. Casual crowd 1. Little interaction 2. Example: people at the beach
Types of Crowds 2. Conventional Crowd 1. Gathered usually as a result of deliberate planning 2. DO follow conventional norms 3. Examples: people at a wedding, people at a concert, etc
Types of Crowds 3. Expressive Crowd 1. Form around events that have emotional appeal 2. Examples: Madri gras, football games, etc
Types of Crowds 4. Acting Crowd 1. Engaged in a destruction action 2. Feverish pitch 3. People act in unrestricted manner
1. Examples: A. Mob 1. Most violent form of acting crowd 2. Members are united by a specific destructive or violent goal 3. Example: lynching
Lynching 1930 A mob of 10, 000 whites took sledgehammers to the county jailhouse doors to get at these two young blacks accused of raping a white girl; the girl’s uncle saved the life of a third by proclaiming the man’s innocence.
B. Riot 1. Collection of people who erupt into generalized destructive behavior 2. Less unified and less focused than mobs
Types of Crowds 5. Protest Crowd 1. Join to advance a political or social goal 2. Examples: strikes, boycotts, etc
• Crowds can change from one type to another • Conventional Expressive Action • Some collective behavior is triggered not by violence but fear
Panic • A spontaneous and uncoordinated group action to escape some perceived threat • Generally happens when people feel their means of escape are limited or soon to be closed off • Examples: Y 2 K, anthrax scare
Moral Panic • Occurs when people become fearful about behavior that appears to threaten society’s core values • Examples: Salem witch trials, link between rock n’ roll and satanism, etc
Mass Hysteria • Unfounded anxiety shared by people who can be scattered over a wide geographic area • Involves irrational beliefs and behaviors that spread among the population • Are usually short-lived • Vanish as soon as people realize that their anxieties have no basis • Examples: The Toxic Lady, War of the Worlds
The Toxic Lady Gloria Ramirez was a Riverside, California, woman dubbed “the toxic lady” by the media after exposure to her body and blood had sickened several hospital workers. She was rushed to hospital in 1994 suffering from the effects of cervical cancer. The medical staff who attended to her all began to feel ill and eventually fainted. Gloria’s body exuded a garlicky and fruity smell and her blood contained flecks of a strange substance like paper. The odd thing about this case is that of those who handled Gloria’s body or treated her, more women than men suffered from the ill-effects and everyone involved had normal results in blood tests. The health department issued a statement at the conclusion of their investigation which said that those who had become sick were, in fact, suffering from mass hysteria.
War of the Worlds The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. Some listeners heard only a portion of the broadcast, and in the atmosphere of tension and anxiety leading to World War II, took it to be a news broadcast. Newspapers reported that panic ensued, people fleeing the area, others thinking they could smell poison gas or could see flashes of lightning in the distance. Some people called CBS, newspapers or the police in confusion over the realism of the news bulletins. Initially Grover’s Mill (the site of one of reports in the drama) was deserted, but crowds developed. Eventually police were sent to control the crowds. To people arriving later in the evening, the scene really did look like the events being narrated, with panicked crowds and flashing police lights streaming across the masses. There were instances of panic throughout the US as a result of the broadcast, especially in New York and New Jersey.