Crowd Mind and Behavior: Afterthoughts

Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


A discussion of the major conceptions of crowd mind and behavior, of mass society, and of the phenomena of crowding is bound to reiterate certain topics of interest which have come up in the ongoing controversies about mass phenomena, their description and, above all, their explanation. This is true for both the frequent intra- disciplinary and the rare interdisciplinary dialogue on masses. It, therefore, is not surprising that in the preceding chapters we find such recurrent themes, whether the chapter was written from an historical, sociological, or psychological perspective. Leaning on the contributions as well as on the very lively discussion in the study group, I shall try to concentrate on some of these themes. With a view to sharpening the issues I shall treat them as bipolar dimensions of the mass behavior analysis. In some cases, the dimensional character may still be a euphemism, since dichotomy prevails. Considering, however, that it has been the goal of the study group to incorporate conceptions of historical change, which should include historical conceptions of change, into social science (here, of mass phenomena) I think it wiser to fixate on the goal of our interdisciplinary enterprise rather than on the much-criticized status quo. Still, I prefer to label the heuristic dimensions by their poles: (a) historical versus scientific approaches, (b) top-down versus bottom-up conceptions, (c) individual versus crowd-centered approaches, and (d) rationalist versus inationalist explanations of crowd mind and behavior. They all turn out to be questions.


Collective Behavior Standard Edition Group Psychology Preceding Chapter Mass Phenomenon 
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