SOCC03 Collective Behavior Midterm Review
- 5-8 short answer questions
- Okay to write in first person for both short answers and in final essay
o Chapter 1 (to page 38)
o Chapter 2 (to page 73)
o Chapter 3
Define Collective Behavior (SUFE). Equate whether a scenario is considered CB. Include
details of conduct, grey area.
Collective Behavior: relatively spontaneous, unstructured, extra-institutional, extra-normative,
behavior of a fairly large number of individuals (Goode, 17)
- Collective behavior is the relationship between self and others, and how that relationship is mediated
and manifested, experienced, and regulated through a series of social, economic, culture, and
technological forces. It is not just a binder between 1-2 people or a crowd with collective behavior; it is
much more complicated.
- Often compared to normal behavior that is structured, institutionalized, and conventional, organized,
planned, predictable, enduring, stable, normative and familiar. Compared with conventional, everyday
life, collective behavior is less inhibited and more spontaneous, more changeable, and less structured,
shorter-lived and less stale.
o Collective: behavior of individuals acting with and in relation to one another – directly influenced
and in the concrete presence of others; basis of group bond. – relative to individual/parallel
o Extrainstitutional: deviates from the established, normative, institutionalized patterns of everyday
life. Different from society’s mainstream structures and institutions.
- Collective behavior is relatively structured, but not wholly so. – Somewhat different from, but not
completely discontinuous with conventional institutional behavior. CB may be urged by new norms that
arose because traditional practices don’t seem to work anymore to some people, having complex and
different relations with different norms and values. CB may have arisen because traditional norms are in
conflict with certain desired values in a specific situation. Operates in situations in which there are no or
few, adequate, clear-cut definitions as to what to do from mainstream culture or where those definitions
fail to determine participants’ behavior – Instable, unpatterned structures – “Maverick” side of human life
- Grey Area: Despite this definition, most behavior is not strictly normal behavior unless in straightforward
examples. Most behavior is not classic collective behavior. A great deal of everyday behavior falls in a
grey area. This grey area can tell us things, things about socio-economic forces, media, technology, etc.
- This is particularly true, and classic ideas of collective behavior are being rewritten, because of
technology – development within last 5-7 years. With change, people’s conception of space and time
change. Technological interaction has challenged and changed some theories about collective behavior SOCC03 Collective Behavior Midterm Review
o i.e. to be not in the
social space you physically in (i.e. talking on the phone while in line at supermarket)
Second question: Describe the public and crowd, and its distinctions. This includes 4 different
types of crowds. How the distinction has been blurred where crowds no longer have to rely on
physical proximity anymore. (Cyber crowds, acting of both)
Classical Definition (Tarde)
The Public is spatially dispersed collectivities; a large and heterogeneous number of people who
are geographically scattered and whose attention is focused on a particular stimulus, issue or
phenomenon (i.e. public/mass connected by TV).
The Crowd: compact; members are in close physical proximity at the same time.
- Public (masses): a modern creation and exists only by virtue of the mass media. The crowd has existed
wherever and whenever humans have congregated in substantial numbers. The physical proximity of
the members of a crowd is what makes it a unique setting
- A given individual can exist in several publics simultaneously; one can belong to only one crowd at a
- Gustave LeBon: Modern age is the age of crowds. Tarde argues against it.
Crowds: Four Types
- Not all crowd behavior is collective behavior.
- “Illusion of unanimity” – not all the same, but can be classified according to the behavior or orientation of
the majority of their members
- Casual: loosely structured, made up of people who just happen to be in the same place at the same
o United by physical proximity and not necessarily by common goals/interests
o Little else in common except their physical location
o Most circumstances, not acting out a form of collective behavior. There are normative,
institutionalized rules for behavior in casual and conventional crowds and most people follow
- Conventional: come together for a common, specific purpose.
o i.e. Lecture, concert, etc.
o Normatively governed, rules observed.
o Can become unconventional – i.e. When a prof does not show up
o To the extent that crowds are conventional, they are not enacting collective behavior
- Expressive: gathered for a specific purpose, but their main purpose is belonging to the crowd itself. SOCC03 Collective Behavior Midterm Review
o Like Conventional,
except it goes further with common purpose, spatial proximity, but also being part of the crowd
with an emotional connection/sense of participation is important – i.e. rock concert/political
realm. Crowd activity is an end in itself.
o Assemble for the purpose of expressing an emotion, belief or sentiment through the crowd and
o Blurry boundaries between the two. Can progress from one to the other, i.e. sports events
- Acting: engage in overt behavior, aside from simply milling around.
o i.e. Revolutions, lynching, violent demonstrations and mass lootings
o Physical activity – often portrayed in a negative sense with a mob idea. In fact it can be both
o The act may have been planned in advanced, or emerged in the crowd setting or in the milling
Bit of both
o Some people act and some do not – do not act with a single mind.
- Mass and public as diffused collectivities.
- Mass traditionally defined as a number of anonymous, isolated, heterogeneous individuals who have
little contact with one another and who react to a given stimulus in a parallel, not a collective fashion.
Public had some contact with each other
- Mass as an isolated atomistic world does not exist; behaviors of mass are spatially dispersed but
generally takes place in clusters or collectivities
- Public is a kind of spiritual collectivity, a dispersal of individuals who are physically separated and whose
cohesion is entirely mental
- Mass media generate masses and publics, large audiences who simultaneously receive the same
message, some of whom will react in similar ways.
- Public is not confined to site/location; they can also be conventional and not CB (i.e. elections)
Public vs. Crowds
While crowds possess immediacy, density and compactness, masses have range, scattered and
- Collective behavior today distinguishes between the two. Important since processes that take place in
crowds do not take place in masses, and vice versa. With technology, public and the crowd are creating
a hybrid form of communication.
o You don’t have to be in a physical world to be active
o The public and mass can now act as a crowd through social media technologies. Facebook
campaigns, social medial campaign, etc.) and the public can create all types of crowds. So
technology has expanded the possibility for agency and possibility for action to people who are
not just physically connected. SOCC03 Collective Behavior Midterm Review
o While crowds are
instantaneous through face-to-face, publics in the same mode would have a much slower effect
without mass communication
- The definitions of what crowds are you can also apply to “publics.”
- This has happened in the last 7-8 years
- i.e. Sammy Yamin – We go into grey area. Is it collective behavior by classic definition?
o Resulted in immediate online and physical rallies. The rallies are considered collected behavior
by the classic definition – semi-structured, non-normative (attitudes of people towards the
o The definition of crowd is new – people no longer need to be in close proximity. The crowd that
arose from this event was on social media sites, Facebook pages, twitter and instagram
commentaries, etc. – a virtual crowd.
- Started 7-8 years ago
- Cited as a form of collective behavior, very unstructured, very spontaneous. Structure is there, but very
- The key was involving a number of people who could at a moment’s notice can come to a physical
location and be a crowd
- Another overlapping of crowd and public.
- How can things that are considered classically CB be increasingly institutionalized and conventional?
Are flash mobs institutionalized? It has progressed from CB, into grey area, now increasingly into normal
behavior – lost its original features. Has a positive tone, rarely violent, etc.
Third Question: General question of the 5 concepts – Name concept and state which concepts
are still valid and useful. Summarize in 2-3 sentences, use the back of the text
- First author who put forth an analysis of phenomena – “ The Crowd” (1895) – precursor to field of CB
- Late 19 century French aristocrat, undemocratic, who thought crowds were mindless violent mobs
made with lowest rung of society.
- Members of crowds lose their individuality and become a homogenous entity – subject to the contagion
of the other members – stupidity, impulsive, barbarism, credulity, intolerance, etc. – hypnotized
- Also give them courage through impulsivity, can also be noble and productive
- He was not taken seriously. It was informed by his political views, radically anti-democratic and
- No real explanation of crowd behavior. States certain conditions are required, but fails to adequately
- Single-factor theory. Ignores all other socio-economic influences SOCC03 Collective Behavior Midterm Review