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Readings - Topic 1-5.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 148
Professor
Rob Beamish

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10/30/2013
TOPIC 1&2 – Collective Behavior, Collective Action
Couch – Collective Behavior, an examination of some stereotypes
Collective behavior is a distinct type of social system, but fruitless to emphasize the abnormality
of it
Not more or less bizarre than other systems
Purpose: to modify dissatisfying situations
Debunked claims of emotionality, irrationality, destructiveness, suggestibility, spontaneity
Le Bon – The Mind of Crowds
Individual’s mind in isolation VS. that individual’s mind in a crowd
Acts differently
Crowd forms a single being
Individualities disappear
Contagion – parallel w/ hypnosis
Contagious sentiments and acts
Impulsiveness, mobility, irritability
Primitive beings
Impulsive, acts on reflex – unconscious has upper hand
Anonymity  irresponsibility  feeling of invincibility
Suggestibility
Exaggeration of sentiments – emotional
Certain groups more than others (latinos vs. whites, women vs. men)
Lofty morality – low standards of morals
McPhail – Creating the Myth
Lebon-park-blumer hypothesis says that crowds transform individuals, diminishing their ability to
control their behavior rationally
These theories are not based on empirical evidence
Mead says – crowds are conscious, intelligent, have purpose
TOPIC 3 – Fads and Fashions
Simmel – Fashion
Paradox: fashion is a form of imitation (integration) but also of differentiation
between time and social status
man has a dualistic nature
socialism and individualism
similarity vs. differentiation
adaptation to generality vs. relief from that generality
uniformity vs. independence
upper class adoption, then lower; upper class then adopts dif. fashion
primitive people have infrequent change in fashion
more drawn to social adaptation than differentiation
unconventional is scary, seen as dangerous
ex: primitive races dancing in uniformity
weaker gender: women more drawn to fashion
way they can shine, be prominent and conspicuous
no other field in which to show this
weak position in society
Mendoza – The collective behavior of fads: the characteristics, effects, and career of
streaking
Supports emergent-norm framework of collective behavior
Importance of preexisting social groupings in collective behavior, importance of mobilizable
social and cultural resources from preexisting organizations and, friendships, kinship networks
Streaking on college campuses in 1974
Characteristics of streaking, busting established social science conceptions of fads:
Heterogeneous structure, rather than homogenous
Sociocultural complexity that increases w/ social heterogeneity
Not entirely novel and odd – had been practiced before, still practiced after
Not as a result of contagion, but rather of emergent norms
People construct an emergent definition of the situation prior to acting
Institutional prestige of schools that had previous experienced streaking
Number and severity of sanction associated w/ previous streaking events
Accuracy of the mass media coverage
Level of complexity of previous streaking events
Sociocultural heterogeneity of potential adopter schools
Importance of preexisting group ties
Product of group life
Edgeley – Health Nazis: Cult of perfect body

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Description
10/30/2013 TOPIC 1&2 – Collective Behavior, Collective Action Couch – Collective Behavior, an examination of some stereotypes Collective behavior is a distinct type of social system, but fruitless to emphasize the abnormality of it Not more or less bizarre than other systems Purpose: to modify dissatisfying situations Debunked claims of emotionality, irrationality, destructiveness, suggestibility, spontaneity Le Bon – The Mind of Crowds Individual’s mind in isolation VS. that individual’s mind in a crowd Acts differently Crowd forms a single being Individualities disappear Contagion – parallel w/ hypnosis Contagious sentiments and acts Impulsiveness, mobility, irritability Primitive beings Impulsive, acts on reflex – unconscious has upper hand Anonymity  irresponsibility  feeling of invincibility Suggestibility Exaggeration of sentiments – emotional Certain groups more than others (latinos vs. whites, women vs. men) Lofty morality – low standards of morals McPhail – Creating the Myth Lebon-park-blumer hypothesis says that crowds transform individuals, diminishing their ability to control their behavior rationally These theories are not based on empirical evidence Mead says – crowds are conscious, intelligent, have purpose TOPIC 3 – Fads and Fashions Simmel – Fashion Paradox: fashion is a form of imitation (integration) but also of differentiation between time and social status man has a dualistic nature socialism and individualism similarity vs. differentiation adaptation to generality vs. relief from that generality uniformity vs. independence upper class adoption, then lower; upper class then adopts dif. fashion primitive people have infrequent change in fashion more drawn to social adaptation than differentiation unconventional is scary, seen as dangerous ex: primitive races dancing in uniformity weaker gender: women more drawn to fashion way they can shine, be prominent and conspicuous no other field in which to show this weak position in society Mendoza – The collective behavior of fads: the characteristics, effects, and career of streaking Supports emergent-norm framework of collective behavior Importance of preexisting social groupings in collective behavior, importance of mobilizable social and cultural resources from preexisting organizations and, friendships, kinship networks Streaking on college campuses in 1974 Characteristics of streaking, busting established social science conceptions of fads: Heterogeneous structure, rather than homogenous Sociocultural complexity that increases w/ social heterogeneity Not entirely novel and odd – had been practiced before, still practiced after Not as a result of contagion, but rather of emergent norms People construct an emergent definition of the situation prior to acting Institutional prestige of schools that had previous experienced streaking Number and severity of sanction associated w/ previous streaking events Accuracy of the mass media coverage Level of complexity of previous streaking events Sociocultural heterogeneity of potential adopter schools Importance of preexisting group ties Product of group life Edgeley – Health Nazis: Cult of perfect body People imposing their health habits on you Judging your character based on your health Ostracism, comparable to racism Religious ideologies turned into health ideologies Morality equated to health Forcing, enforcing health on you Kaiser – Fashion, Postmodernity, and Personal Appearance: A symbolic interactionist formulation Ambivalence as the key factor when dealing with fashion (mixed feelings/ contradictory ideas about it) Ambivalence toward… Identity tensions Symbolic exchange logic Changing aesthetic codes Advanced capitalism plays into this by offering a complex array of choices  state of confusion/ ambivalence on what is fashionable culture doesn’t supply us with straightforward meanings, but leaves us up to constructing them – appearance is a way to do that appearance management serves as a means for constructing a sense of style and constructing and reconstructing a sense of self postmodernism promotes ambivalence neomania – the new is a purchased value Flash Mobs mobilized by email, materializes in public places community – virtual community brought to real space events are part social, part political people love to be a part of something that nobody was expecting Flash Robs Happy, almost giddy kids robbing stores Heard about it from friends, probably saw it on Youtube, now have a
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