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From crowd events to social movements


From crowd events to social movements John Drury School of Psychology, University of Sussex EASP Medium Size Meeting on Collective Action and Social Change: – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: From crowd events to social movements

From crowd events to social movements
  • John Drury
  • School of Psychology, University of Sussex
  • EASP Medium Size Meeting on
  • Collective Action and Social Change
  • Toward Integration and Innovation
  • July 3-6, 2009, Groningen, The Netherlands

From crowd events to social movements
  • Acknowledgements
  • Steve Reicher, Charles Abraham, Dermot Barr,
    Joseph Beale, Chris Cocking, Angela Haddow,
    Charlotte Hanson, Karl Marx, Faye Rapley,
    Clifford Stott

From antecedents.
  • Perceptions of collective illegitimacy and
    disadvantage (Wright Tropp, 2002)
  • Identification (Veenstra Haslam, 2000 Van
    Zomeren et al., 2008)
  • Instrumental rewards (Simon Klandermans, 2001
    Sturmer Simon, 2004)
  • Group efficacy (Kelly Breinlinger, 1995
    Klandermans 1992)
  • Activist identity (Simon)
  • Normative alignment (Thomas, 2009)

to consequences.
  • Only lately have psychologists taken an interest
  • Human flourishing (Kasser Klar, 2006)
  • Pride, policization, group relations (Fedi,
    Mannarini, Rovere, in press)
  • Consolidating or eroding commitment to the group
    (Louis, in press)
  • Emotion, empowerment, well-being, resilience (Van

to consequences.
  • But psychological consequences of CA have long
    been documented by sociologists, political
    scientists and historians
  • Class consciousness (Mann, 1973)
  • Continued activism and liberal values (McAdam,
  • Opposition to police, positive relations to other
    groups (Green, 1990)
  • Pride (Britt Heise, 2000)

to consequences.
  • Seem to be subjectively and socially important!
  • Paris, 1968
  • the tumultuous development of the students'
    struggle ... transformed both the relation of
    forces in society and the image, in people's
    minds, of established institutions and of
    established leaders (Anon., 1968, p. 51).
  • The occupants of Censier suddenly cease to be
    unconscious, passive objects shaped by particular
    combinations of social forces they become
    conscious, active subjects who begin to shape
    their own social activity (Gregoire Perlman,
    1969, pp. 37-41).

From antecedents to consequences and back?
  • Two-fold argument
  • 1. Prima facie, theoretical, and practical
    reasons to seek conceptual integration of
    antecedents and consequences of CA.

From antecedents to consequences and back?
  • 2. Crowd research offers a way into such
  • Crowd events provide insights into psychological
    and social change
  • We need the ESIM (or something like it) to grasp
    the relation between antecedents/ crowd events
    and social movements /consequences and back

  • Reasons for conceptual integration of the
    antecedents and consequences of CA
  • A prima facie case
  • The theoretical case The elaborated social
    identity model (ESIM) of the crowd and beyond
  • Practical reasons for research of this kind

1. A prima facie case
  • Watts riot,
  • Los Angeles, 1965
  • Antecedents
  • Grievance/relative deprivation
  • Police racism
  • New black identities developing
  • Failure of non-violent movement
  • Consequences
  • Empowerment and black pride
  • Black /working class social movements
  • Legislation and social policy
  • For the first time people in Watts feel a real
    pride in being black (cited in Milgram Toch,

2. The theoretical case
  • Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM Reicher,
    Stott Drury)
  • A historical, interactive account of identity
    (self) and context (social world) change through
    crowd dynamics.
  • Hence a framework for showing links between
  • Crowd events and social movements
  • Antecedents and consequences of CA

  • Based upon social identity and self cat
  • To explain change in crowd events
  • Dynamics and conditions
  • Concepts
  • Types of change

ESIM (1) Dynamics and conditions
  • Crowd may begin as divided
  • Police perceive crowd homogeneity. Police
    practices impose a common fate on crowd members
  • Crowd unites around opposition to the police.
  • Conditions
  • (i) asymmetry of categorical representations
    between crowd participants and the police
  • (ii) asymmetry of power the police initially
    able to impose their definition of legitimate
    practice on the crowd.
  • Where police action is seen as both
    indiscriminate and illegitimate ? more
    willingness to enter into conflict with the
  • The emergence of a inclusive self-categorization
    (as oppositional) within the crowd leads to
    feelings of unity this empowers crowd members to
    take on the police.

ESIM (2) Concepts
  • Identity
  • a representation of ones position in a set of
    categorical social relations, along with the
    possible and proper actions that flow from that
  • Context
  • those social practices which enable or constrain
    our actions.
  • Identity and context are different moments in
    time One groups identity forms context for
    other groups over time, and vice versa

ESIM (3) Types of identity change
  • Psych consequences of CA that help explain how
    crowd events become social movements
  • Identity content becoming oppositional (Drury
    Reicher, 2000)
  • Identity boundaries joining with others (Drury,
    Reicher, Stott, 2003)
  • Empowerment (Drury, Cocking, Beale, Hanson,
    Rapley, 2005 Drury Reicher, 2005)
  • Changed aims and purposes of future action
    (Drury, 1996 Drury Reicher, 2005, in press)

Identity content becoming oppositional
  • Longitudinal study of
  • No M11 link-road campaign (1993-4)
  • Many (inexperienced) protesters entered events
    considering themselves liberal individuals.
  • But they were treated collectively as an
    illegitimate group.
  • In being positioned as oppositional, they saw
    themselves as oppositional far from facilitating
    their democratic rights the police were
    perceived as obstructing them.
  • Hence change in the content of the social
    identity who we are.

Identity content becoming oppositional
  • Int What in particular has radicalized you do
    you think?
  • CP25 The police. Simple as that. You can't win
    sticking to the rules you can't win cos they
    don't. And you've got to do something like that,
    there's no other option left, I don't think. The
    day of the tree eviction made me realize
    there's no way you're gonna win by just sort of
    going quietly, you've got to make as much fuss as
    you can. Really did change me, I think, that day
    the day the tree came down. (Interview)

Identity boundaries joining with others
  • Police action grouped local protesters with
    national activists
  • The changed identity content ? protesters defined
    themselves as one with other oppositional groups
  • the Nigerian Ogoni tribe (protesting against
    Shell oil company)
  • those who fought injustice in the past (e.g.,
    the British miners strike, 1984-5).
  • Hence, identity boundaries became more inclusive
    in both space and time.
  • Following the M11 campaign, many participants
    graduated from the local protest in London
  • to the national anti-car Reclaim the Streets
  • to the world-wide anti-capitalist/
    anti-globalization movement

  • Process (ESIM dynamics/conditions revisited)
  • Indiscriminate police action
  • ? from fragmentation to inclusive
  • ? Subjective unity/homogenization in the crowd
  • ? Expectations and provision of support for
    ingroup normative action
  • ? Ingroup normative action as collective

  • Collective self-objectification (CSO)
  • Action which serves to realize (objectify)
    participants social identity (their definition
    of legitimate practice) in the world, over
    against the power of dominant outgroups.
  • Some features of CSO
  • CSO can itself be empowering
  • CSO, like empowerment itself, feels good!
  • CSO can lead to further participation

Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
1. CSO is an outcome of the crowd dynamic
specified in the ESIM Cross-sectional,
longitudinal survey of London demo against
Israeli attack on Gaza, London, January 2009
(Haddow Drury, in prep) Identification ?
Subjective unity ? Expectations of support ?
Feelings of empowerment ? CSO measures (i.e.
campaign success, achievement, goals)
Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
  • 2. CSO is collective action which transforms the
    social world
  • M11 protesters transformed a construction site
    back into common land through direct action
  • Their action (changed social world, in line with
    their collective identity) subjectively evidenced
    that their group was indeed an active and
    powerful subject. (Drury Reicher, 2005)

Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
  • 3. CSO is not success per se but must be
    group-identity congruent
  • Interview study of march against Labour Party
    conference (Drury et al., 2005) socialists felt
    empowered anarchists felt disempowered.
  • Lab analogue study (Drury Cocking, in prep)
  • Different identities induced in participants for
    which intellectual achievement was more or less
  • They complete activities which were described as
    intelligence/ability tasks
  • Bogus feedback on success or failure
  • Then Ps completed empowerment measures
    subjective success, future expectations of
    success, desire for participation and positive
  • Positive feedback increased the sense of
    subjective success for all participants
  • BUT the effect of such feedback on feelings of
    empowerment was greater when tasks were
    identity-relevant and the effects of failure
    feedback on feelings of disempowerment was
    greater for those to whom the tasks were

Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
  • 4. CSO is empowering
  • CSO is a result of having power, but empowerment
    is also an experiential outcome of CSO! (Drury et
    al., 2005 Drury Reicher, 2005 Reicher
    Haslam, 2006)
  • It was almost as if that kind of sent a kind of
    wave ofa wave of kind of empowerment through a
    lot of people, including protesters. I think a
    lot of people suddenly realized that they
    could actuallythey could actually take some
    responsibility for what was going on and actually
    take control. A lot of people have just
    powered on since then, they really have. (M11

Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
  • 5. CSO is associated with positive emotions
  • Existing research demonstrates that empowering
    actions are experienced as joyful.
  • Interview study of activists accounts of
    empowering factors found CSO was statistically
    the best predictor of positive emotion (Drury et
    al., 2005)
  • That felt really brilliant, cos it was just
    I dont know, theres something about overcoming
    opposition. Like if wed just walked out of the
    tube station and walked straight onto the road,
    it wouldnt have been as good, as having to have
    got round the police lines first. So it was that
    kind of, you know, makes you feel more like
    youve achieved something. If youre left
    completely free to do whatever you want, it
    doesnt feel as wa-hey! Exciting as, as the whole
    crowd pulling together against some opposition
    and then achieving what it wants (M41 Reclaim
    the Streets party)
  • Cross-sectional survey of London demo against
    attack on Gaza (Haddow Drury, in prep) found
    CSO variables predicted happiness

Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
  • 6. CSO is associated with well-being
  • More speculative
  • Pathway 1 Empowerment via CSO
  • Perceived control reduces cardiovascular disease
    and associated risk factors (de Lange et al.,
    2003). Consequently, the sense of empowerment and
    control engendered by the realization of identity
    in collective action may enhance well-being.
  • Pathway 2 Positive emotions via CSO
  • Just as negative emotions predispose us to
    ill-health (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2002) so
    positive emotions can contribute to well-being
    (Moskowitz, Epel, Acree, 2008). Positive
    emotions such as joy reduce anxiety, which in
    turn lowers blood pressure levels and enhances
    immune functioning. Joy also broadens the range
    of healthy activities we engage in (Fredrickson,
  • Also follows the logic of ISIS (Haslam Reicher)
    linking social identification with stress
    reduction (via support in CA for ingroup
    normative action)

Empowerment Evidence for aspects of CSO
  • 7. CSO can lead to further collective action
  • Positively
  • CSO was associated with an upsurge in No M11
    campaign activity (Drury Reicher, 2005)
  • Negatively
  • Lack of CSO and police control were best
    predictors of reduced subsequent participation
    (Drury et al., 2005)

A positive cycle of collective action, its
antecedents and consequences From Reicher
Haslam (2006, in press)
Empowerment and CSO Some caveats
  • Is collective action always healthy?
  • Stress, injury, cold and lack of food all lower
    the immune system.
  • No simple link from CA/CSO to well-being many
    intervening variables!
  • Gaza survey study results (Haddow Drury, in
    prep) mixed
  • CSO marginally predicted psychological health
  • BUT enduring empowerment correlated negatively
    with physical health!
  • 2. Is CSO always predictive of future
    collective action?
  • Some of the best successes are also associated
    with burnout!
  • E.g. the Reclaim the Streets events followed by
    police persecution and exhaustion.
  • Hence no simple predictive relation between CSO
    and future action (Drury et al., 2005)

Changed aims and purposes
  • Changed aims link with change in identity
  • After being attacked by the authorities, M11
    Protesters moved from saving particular pieces of
    land to exposing the illegitimacy of the police
    (Drury Reicher, in press)
  • Means can become ends fighting the police
    becomes an aim and achievement in itself rather
    than an occupational hazard
  • Just giving the police such a run-around,
    you know, that was empowering, just like, um,
    seeing that the police were, like, quite pissed
    off, and just a chance to demoralise the
    police, I think, although we couldnt liberate
    any animals or anything like that, it was good to
    see the police demoralized. (P14, Shamrock).
  • This can cut both ways, however!
  • G8 activists elevated their protest camp (means)
    into an end in itself. They felt empowered. But
    promotion of activist culture served to create
    an activist ghetto that alienated political
    neophytes. (Barr Drury, in press).

3. Practical reasons for research on CA
  • Our interest lies in support for social change
  • Protests often have a bad press
  • Protesters are criminalized, pathologized
  • Campaigns are put down by being described as
    single issue
  • Or the message is that collective action is
    self-sacrifice, hassle
  • By highlighting both rational causes and
    positive experiences we can contribute to the
    political project of promoting collective action
  • An example of the ideological battle as in
    the case when student protest at your university
    is criminalized by the authorities in order to
    discredit it. ?

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Conclusion and summary
  • The argument
  • The antecedents and consequences of CA need to be
    linked theoretically
  • ESIM is a framework for such integration and
    hence explaining how crowd events can become part
    of social movements
  • In particular the ESIM suggests
  • (i) how change occurs (dynamics)
  • (ii) how we need to think of identity in
    explaining change (concepts)
  • (iii) a typology of changes in identity

Conclusion and summary
  • Why ESIM? Concepts common to related accounts
  • BUT what we try to add is the historical
    interactive perspective showing how key
    concepts relate over time

Identity Identity content and boundaries Identification
Stability Empower-ment Efficacy
Legitimacy, Aims, purposes Injustice
Cognitive alternatives Aims, purposes
Conclusion and summary
  • We can learn much from the crowd but ESIM is
    not just a crowd theory.
  • The examples show how particular events are
    interpreted in a wider context
  • Crowd events can become social movements because
  • The types of change described may be enduring
    changes for individuals and groups
  • Consequences can translate into antecedents
    motivations, rationales, confidence for future