FuseBox Session #3 - John Drury

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FuseBox Session #3 - John Drury

  1. 1. John Drury
 School of Psychology
 University of Sussex Collective psychology and the joy of the crowd
  2. 2. Are crowds bad for us? • The crowd involved in protest and riot and resistance • ‘Public disorder’: ‘madness’, loss of control, over-emotionality • or necessary social change? Paris Commune, 1871
  3. 3. Are crowds bad for us? • In disasters and emergencies, crowds are subject to irrational ‘mass panic’. • BUT emergencies bring people together in solidarity and mutual aid. –‘Blitz spirit’
  4. 4. Are crowds bad for us? • Crowding can be aversive. • BUT we seek out and enjoy the crowd when it comes to celebration and partying.
  5. 5. • What are the psychological conditions for these different outcomes? • When is the crowd a source of joy?
  6. 6. Big Beach Boutique II • 250,000 people (60,000 were expected) • Emergency services overwhelmed • Exit routes blocked ‘Panic at DJ Fatboy Slim’s Beach party’ ‘seaside resort [brought] to the brink of disaster’ (Guardian, 21st July 2002)
  7. 7. Police perspective: Crowd ‘disorder’ as ‘prevalent and widespread’: ‘Everywhere people were committing offences. I was asked to hold a male’s joint, whilst he made a phone call, sitting on top of plastic-roofed toilet’ (Police Officer)
  8. 8. Police perspective: Crowd ‘disorder’: ‘threatening and distressing’: ‘Many officers have been traumatised. Some of them have been verbally and physically abused by members of the public while they are trying to help people in distress’ (Police Chief Inspector)
  9. 9. How was disaster averted? Steward and crowd perspective: Crowd self-organization: ‘I’m absolutely of the opinion that it was the crowd that stopped the disaster.. none of the barriers, none of the coppers, none of the stew.. stewards, none of the alleged things that were put into place .. to protect the crowd I don’t think any of that mattered, I think it was the crowd that kept everything together’ (Party-goer)
  10. 10. • Positive experiences in ‘discomfort’: crowd perspectives: “... it was brilliant sunshine you know, just, everybody was friendly. You were having to weave between people on the stones, and nobody got upset, nobody kind of, if you trod on someone it was not an issue. It was a very convivial kind of atmosphere...” (Party-goer) • The site was 50,605 m2 in size • This allowed for 0.5 m2 per person in a standing crowd. • With a crowd of 250,000, this gives only 0.2 m2 of space per person!
  11. 11. Questionnaire survey
 • Respondents were fans of the DJ Fatboy Slim, familiar with the dance music scene, and regularly attended nightclubs and dance music parties. Measures: • ‘Feeling too crowded’. – E.g., ‘I felt uncomfortable with the close physical proximity of the other crowd members…’ • Positive emotion. – E.g., ‘I felt joyful…’ • Social identification with the crowd. – E.g., ‘I identified with the other crowd members…’
  12. 12. Social identities vs personal identities Personal identity = that which makes me unique, different from you • My ‘personality’ • ‘me’ Social identities = that part of the self based on social category membership: • English • Man United fans • Psychologists • Member of an online community • ‘us’
  13. 13. Different social identities become salient (define who I am) in different contexts • Football match • Lecture theatre The context includes others outside our group who we define ourselves relative to: • Psychologists in relation to physicists • Psychologists in relation to artists
  14. 14. • Each social identity has different norms (rules for behaviours) This is why the same person’s behaviour varies between contexts: • At the gig – ‘wild’ fan • In the office – sober office worker
  15. 15. • Social identification in a crowd (co- present or virtual) • This has a number of important implications...
  16. 16. Becoming a member of a crowd ‘Relational’ transformation If other people are ‘us’ then: • We expect agreement - the same perceptions and views • We influence each other • We expect support • We want to give support • Others validate our perspective • We gain in confidence in expressing that perspective
  17. 17. Becoming a member of a crowd ‘Emotional’ transformation The joy and commitment that we sometimes see – in conflictual crowds, celebrations and carnivals – is a function of the relational transformation: • If we are normally subordinate, for our social identity to be ‘realised’ feels good! • To have the agency which we gain through being part of the collective feels good!
  18. 18. Implications for crowded events: • Where personal identity is salient, other people ‘invade my personal space’ • Where shared social identity is salient, we enjoy the same proximity
  19. 19. Survey hypotheses H1. Identification with the crowd would predict feeling less crowded, which would in turn predict positive emotion.
  20. 20. Figure 1. Model of social identification as predictor of positive emotion, mediated by feeling too crowded. Novelli D, Drury J, Reicher S, Stott C (2013) Crowdedness Mediates the Effect of Social Identification on Positive Emotion in a Crowd: A Survey of Two Crowd Events. PLoS ONE 8(11): e78983. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078983 http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0078983
  21. 21. • H2. Any negative relation between feeling crowded and positive emotion would not apply to those scoring high on identification with the crowd.
  22. 22. Figure 2. Simple slopes equations of the regression of positive emotion on feeling too crowded at three levels of identification with the crowd. Novelli D, Drury J, Reicher S, Stott C (2013) Crowdedness Mediates the Effect of Social Identification on Positive Emotion in a Crowd: A Survey of Two Crowd Events. PLoS ONE 8(11): e78983. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078983 http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0078983
  23. 23. What are the conditions? • Shared social identity explains why from the outside, a crowd might look hellish, but is actually a heavenly experience for many participants
  24. 24. The Hajj crowd at Mecca
  25. 25. Alnabulsi & Drury (2014) PNAS www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/ pnas.1404953111
  26. 26. When is the crowd a source of joy? • Crowding can be aversive – when there is no shared identification in the crowd. • BUT we seek out and enjoy the crowd when it is a crowd we identify with.
  27. 27. Are crowds bad for us? It is when we have a shared social identity with others in the crowd – when we see them as ‘us’ not ‘other’ – that we • show solidarity in the emergency. • coordinate with them and take collective action • BUT those outside the crowd may still see it as bad!
  28. 28. Contact details and resources e: j.drury@sussex.ac.uk @drjohndrury Blog: http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.co.uk/ Websites: Sussex: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/92858 Research projects: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/ psychology/showcase/researchprojects/johndrury

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