18 September, 2013
Classic Examples of Collective Behaviour
- is collective behaviour even useful at all?
- Relatively spontaneous unstructured extra institutional behaviour of a fairly
large number of individuals.
- It is not a really specific definition
- It is relatively spontaneous and structured
- For example, is the collection of people in a classroom collective behaviour?
No it is not. Is driving collectively on a highway collective behaviour? No,
because it is a conventional behaviour, there is nothing really spontaneous,
you are part of a crowd and a group but it is not collective behaviour. What
happens if there is an accident, and people ran from their car, this would be
collective behaviour. This is spontaneous, there is a type of structure to it, the
structure is often time chaos, it can be institutionalize and there can be
- One of the interesting thing about collective behaviour is the
spontaneousness, the fact that it erupts in comparison to everyday behaviour
- Most behaviour is not classic collective behaviour
- Difference between conventional behaviour and collective behaciour is a
matter of degree. Collective behaviour is becoming a grey area
- A lot of everyday behaviour falls in a sort of grey area, yes our day is taken up
by usually everyday behaviour and there is collective behaviour. But a great
deal of our behaviour is in a sort of grey area. It is this grey area that
interests us, and tells us things about social forces, about media, technology
and so on.
- This is particularly true because of technology. Technology has changed
people’s conception of space and time.
- There is a lot of things with digital media, and a sense of consciousness has
change concerning space and time.
- Technology has changed our consciousness and challenges some of our
The Public and the Crowd (Tarde) p. 21
- There is a difference between the public and crowd
- The public is scattered and diffuse only connected through a common
- The crowd compact, members are in close physical proximity
- Traditionally there are four types of crowds
- Casual- people who just happen to be in the same place at the same time
- Conventional- are in close proximity but they tend to have a common
purpose. A lecture for example - Expressive- this is like conventional but expressive goes further and instead
of having a common purpose and being in spatial proximity and having a
emotional connection to the crow. An example is a concert.
- Acting- this is a crowd that takes on physical activity, often it is rioting or
some sort of organized action. Often a mob kinds of activity.
- With technology, public and crowd are creating hybrid form of collection.
- The public and the mass can act as a crowd through social media, this is due
to technology. You don’t physically have to be in a crowd
- Technology has expanded the possibility for agency and the possibility for
action to people who aren’t physically connected. Actions has now been
exploded beyond physical boundaries.
- This has changed for several years, can be because of twitter or a little bit
Sammy Yatim got shot on the subway
- One police officer fired 8 shots and he was tazered and died.
- What happened after?
- There were 20 officers there and one of them used force, but was this
collective behaviour by the classical definition? Spontaneous and structured,
rule breaking or abnormal?
- Not sure, a lot of the inquiries that are going to be going on about this
shooting, is to look at how much this was a type of collective behaviour?
- We expect an institutional response for things like this and not a collective
- This upset a lot of people, they asked was this how the police operate or is it
something that just got out of hand.
- After the shooting, there were rallies, protests this was collective behaviour,
this was semi structures, abnormal and spontaneous.
- Memorial sites that go up from someone who died in a traffic accident or
shooting. This clearly fits into the classic definition of collective behaviour.
- The most horrifying response to the situation was not from people who were
in close proximity but from people on social media, such as twitter and
Saint Mary’s Sex Chant
- During frosh events there was 80 frosh leaders that lead 300-400 students
and they had several chants one of which was video taped and insta