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SOCC03 Lec. 12

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University of Toronto Scarborough
John Hannigan

Neil Smelsen (1962) - wrote a book called Theory of Collective Behaviour - argued that what was important in explaining collective behaviour wasn't state of mind or emotion, but society itself and its structural committees - controversial because an example of functionalism (how people integrate into society; society works best when it operates in a steady state) * functionalism is often disproven as societies have riots and protests - Smelser describe these events as "collective seizures" and societies need outbursts of collective behaviour to allow people to let off tension once in a while - collective behaviour isn't something mysterious or an epidemic, but by conditions of the social structure (particular emphasis on strain) - ValueAdded Theory of Behaviour (6 steps to producing collective behaviour) 1.) Structural Conduciveness - the environment has to be amenable to a particular collective behaviour; if it is not, then collective behaviour won't even start (e.g. weather has to be warm enough to protest) 2.) Structural Strain: - a strain that basically makes people do things that they ordinarily don't want to do - problem is that most societies have a lot of strain and are not utopian 3.) Generalized Belief: - the key concept; a strain must be a
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