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Collective Behavior

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Watts, south central, after a LAKERS championship. Sociology, Tenth Edition ... Reasons why social movements will continue to be part of the American scene. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Collective Behavior


1
Collective Behavior Social Movements
2
Studying Collective Behavior
  • Social movements
  • Organized activities that encourage or discourage
    social change
  • Collective behavior
  • Activities involving a large number of people,
    often spontaneous, and typically in violation of
    established social norms

3
Studying Collective Behavior
  • Collective behavior is wide-ranging
  • So many variables to take into account
  • Collective behavior is complex
  • The possible questions and answers are so
    numerous
  • Much of collective behavior is transitory
  • Things arise and dissipate quickly

4
Collectivity
  • A large number of people whose minimal
    interaction occurs in the absence of well-defined
    and conventional norms
  • Two types
  • Localized people in physical proximity to one
    another
  • Dispersed or mass behavior people who influence
    one another even though SEPERATED by great
    distances

5
How Collectives Differ From Groups
  • Collectives are based on limited social
    interaction
  • Interaction in mobs is limited and temporary
  • Collectives have no clear social boundaries
  • Little sense of unity compared to social groups
    whose members often share a common identity
  • Collectives generate weak and unconventional
    norms
  • Mobs often destroy and act spontaneously

6
CrowdsA Temporary Gathering of People Who Share
a Common Focus of Attention and Whose Members
Influence One Another
  • HERBERT BLUMMER IDENTIFIED 4 TYPES, WE ADD A 5TH
  • A CASUAL CROWD PEOPLE ON A BEACH
  • LOOSE COLLECTION OF PEOPLE WHO INTERACT VERY
    LITTLE
  • A CONVENTIONAL CROWD A COLLEGE CLASSROOM
  • RESULTS FROM DELIBERATE PLANNING NORMALLY
    CONFORMING TO CULTURAL NORMS
  • AN EXPRESSIVE CROWD A CHURCH SERVICE
  • AROUND AN EVENT WITH EMOTIONAL APPEAL
  • AN ACTING CROWD PEOPLE FLEEING FROM A FIRE
  • COLLECTIVITY FUELED BY AN INTENSE, SINGLE-MINDED
    PURPOSE
  • A PROTEST CROWD A COLLEGE STUDENT SIT-IN
  • PEOPLE ENGAGE IN A VARIETY OF ACTIONS, INCLUDING
    STRIKES AND BOYCOTTS

7
When Acting Crowds Turn Violent
  • Mob
  • A highly emotional crowd that pursues a violent
    or DISTRUCTIVE goal
  • Lynch mob
  • Riots
  • A social REUPTION that is highly emotional,
    violent undirected
  • Watts, south central, after a LAKERS championship

8
Theories of Crowd Behavior
  • Gustave le Bons contagion theory
  • Crowds exert hypnotic influence over their
    members, people surrender to a collective mind
    its members rid themselves of inhibitions and act
    out and the crowd assumes a life of its own
  • Critical evaluation
  • Crowd actions result from the intentions and
    decisions of specific individuals
  • Not necessarily irrational

9
Theories of Crowd Behavior
  • Convergence theory
  • Motivations are brought to the crowd by the
    individual members, not vice versa
  • Crowds amount to a convergence of like-minded
    people
  • The crowd doesnt generate the action, but rather
    the members themselves stimulate the action of
    the crowd
  • Example neighborhood groups concerned about
    crime and want to do something about it
  • Critical evaluation
  • Some people do things in a crowd that they would
    not have the courage to do alone
  • Crows can intensify a sentiment simply by
    creating a critical mass of like-minded people

10
Theories of Crowd Behavior
  • Turner Killians emergent-norm theory
  • People in crowds have mixed interests
  • In less stable crowds (expressive, acting, and
    protest), norms may be vague or changing one does
    something and others jump on the bandwagon
    people in crowds make their own rules as they go
    along
  • Critical evaluation
  • A symbolic-interaction approach that POINST out
    that POEOLE in a crowd take on different roles

11
Mass Behavior
  • Collective behavior among people dispersed over a
    wide geographical area
  • Types include
  • Rumor and gossip
  • Public opinion
  • Propaganda
  • Panic and mass hysteria
  • Fads and fashions

12
Rumor and Gossip
  • Rumor unsubstantiated information people spread
    informally, often by word of mouth
  • Rumor thrives in a climate of ambiguity
  • Rumor is unstable
  • Rumor is difficult to stop
  • Gossip is rumor about the personal affairs of
    others
  • Gossip concerns a small circle of people
  • Rumors spread widely, but gossip is more
    localized
  • Can be used to praise or scorn someone
  • Can be used to raise ones standing or keep
    others in their place

13
Public Opinion Propaganda
  • Public opinion widespread attitudes about
    controversial issues
  • On any given issue from 210 of Americans report
    they hold no opinion
  • Is this due to ignorance or indifference?
  • Not everyones opinion carries the same weight
  • Experts in a field
  • Propaganda information presented with the
    intention of shaping public opinion
  • Thin line between information and propaganda
  • Not all propaganda is false

14
Panic Mass Hysteria
  • Panic
  • A form of localized collective behavior by which
    people react to a perceived threat or other
    stimulus with irrational, frantic, and often
    self-destructive behavior
  • Mass hysteria
  • A form of dispersed collective behavior by which
    people respond to a real or imagined event often
    with irrational and even frantic fear and often
    self-destructive behavior

15
Fashions and Fads
  • Fashions
  • A social pattern favored for a time by a large
    number of people
  • Fashion characterizes all forms of art
  • Traditional style gives way to changing fashion
  • Can trickle down through less expensive copies
  • THORSTEIN VEBLENS conspicuous consumption
    people buying expensive products simply to
    show-off their wealth
  • Fads
  • An unconventional social pattern that people
    embrace briefly but enthusiastically
  • Sometimes called crazes

16
Types of Social Movements
  • Social Movements an organized activity that
    encourages or discourages social change
  • Alternative
  • Least threatening, limited change for a limited
    number of members
  • Example planned parenthood
  • Redemptive
  • Selective focus, radical change
  • Example some religious organizations
  • Reformative
  • Limited social change that targets all members of
    society
  • Example equal rights amendment movement
  • Revolutionary
  • The most severe, striving for basic
    transformation of society
  • Example ultra-conservative political movements

17
Figure 23-2 Four Types of Social Movements
18
Theories of Social Movements
  • Deprivation Theory
  • Social movements arise among people who feel
    deprived
  • Result of experiencing relative deprivation a
    perceived disadvantage arising from some specific
    comparison
  • Critical evaluation
  • Why do social movements arise among some groups
    and not others
  • Theory suffers from circular reasoning
  • Focuses exclusively on the cause telling us
    little about movements themselves

19
Figure 23-3 Relative Deprivation and Social
Movements
20
Theories of Social Movements
  • Wm. Kornhausers Mass-Society Theory
  • Social movements attract socially isolated people
    who feel personally insignificant.
  • Movements are personal as ell as political,
    giving people with week social ties a sense of
    purpose and belonging
  • Critical evaluation
  • Gives no clear standard fro measuring the extent
    to which we live in a mass society
  • Belittles the social justice issue suggesting it
    is flawed people not flawed society that are
    responsible
  • Research is mixed on support of theory

21
Theories of Social Movements
  • Neil Smelsers Structural-Strain Theory
  • Six factors encouraging social movement
  • Structural conduciveness
  • Arise out of perceptions of problems
  • Structural strain
  • Experiencing relative deprivation
  • Growth and spread of an explanation
  • Making clear reasons and solutions for suffering

22
Theories of Social Movements
  • Neil Smelsers Structural-Strain Theory
  • Six factors encouraging social movement (cont.)
  • Precipitating factors
  • Specific events give rise to collection action
  • Mobilization for action
  • Action stage Protest and rallies
  • Lack of social control
  • Quick, harsh response, or giving the green
    light for change?
  • Critical evaluation
  • Same circular arguments as Kornhausers theory
  • Overlooks important role of resources, mass media
    and international alliances

23
Theories of Social Movements
  • Resource-Mobilization Theory
  • No social movement is likely to succeed or even
    get off the ground without substantial resources
  • Money
  • Human labor
  • Offices and communication facilities
  • Access to mass media
  • Critical evaluation
  • Powerless can promote change if they are
    organized an have committed members
  • Overstates the extent to which powerful people
    are willing to challenge the status quo

24
Theories of Social Movements
  • Cultural Theory
  • The people in any particular situation are likely
    to mobilize to form a social movement only to the
    extent that they develop shared understandings of
    the world that legitimate and motivate collective
    action
  • Critical evaluation
  • Does not address how and when powerful cultural
    symbols turn people from supporting the system
    toward protest

25
Theories of Social Movements
  • New Social Movements Theory
  • Emphasizes the distinctive futures of recent
    social movements in postindustrial societies
  • Most of todays movements are international
  • Tend to focus on cultural change and improving
    social and physical surroundings
  • Draws support from middle and upper classes
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Tends to exaggerate differences between past and
    present social movements

26
Stages of Social Movements
  • Stage one emergence
  • Perception that something is wrong
  • Stage two coalescence
  • Defining itself and going public
  • Stage three bureaucratization
  • Organizing rationally to get job done
  • Stage four decline
  • Is the movement in need of regrouping or is it
    simply time for its demise?
  • Reasons
  • Signals success has been reached
  • Signals organizational problems (leadership,
    etc.)
  • Leadership sells out to other interests
  • Demise may result from state-sponsored repression

27
Figure 23-4 Stages in the Lives of Social
Movements
28
Social Movements of the 21st Century
  • Many of the nations serious social woes remain
    unchanged.
  • Poor public schools, crime, size of government,
    race relations, cost of political campaigns,
    health care costs, free speech, etc.
  • Reasons why social movements will continue to be
    part of the American scene.
  • Protest should increase as more historically
    marginal groups gain a greater political voice.
  • Technology means people can stay current with
    events as they happen.
  • Because many problems are global in scope, only
    international cooperation can solve them.
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