By a large number of people typically violating dominant norms and values
Difference of Collective Behavior from Social Group
1.Social groups engage in direct and frequent interactions
2. People in social group have common identity that derives from their membership
3. Social groups are governed by a set of norms defining conventional behaviors
1. Collectivities are usually temporary and in some cases face to face interaction does not occur
2. Members do not usually feel this sense of belongingness
3. Norms guiding behaviors are weak because they are newly emerging and often unconventional
developing in response to uncertainty, strain or threat.
Two Types of Collectivities
People who are in close physical proximity to one another act together
The actions of people who are not in close physical proximity nevertheless affect one another.
The activity of dispersed collectivity is sometimes referred to mass behavior because it involves large
number of people who are spread our geographically even through out the world but engaged in
basically the same behavior or concerned with the same phenomenon
Types of Localized collectivity
Mobs and riots
Panics and hysteria
Types of Dispersed Collectivity
Rumors and Gossips
Fashions and Fads
A temporary gathering of people with a common focal point who influence one another .
The size of crowd is sometimes a source of pride
The size of crowd can be a cause for concern, especially among social control agents.
Main Types of Crowds
Casual Crowd – Forms spontaneously around a specific incident, but people in the gathering
engage in a little, if any , interaction with one another
Conventional crowd- collects for a specific event, but their gathering is planned, not
spontaneous. Conventional crowd abides by the norms that govern such occasions.
Expressive crowd- gathers for an event that is highly emotional or exciting. It is the expected
emotional charge or promised excitement that draws the people to the gathering.
Acting crowd - Is emotion charged and forms spontaneously for one specific purpose. The
emotion that characterizes the acting crowd is more intense than the emotion of an expressive
crowd, so acting crowds have the greatest likelihood of being unmanageable.
If an acting crowd becomes violent it can turn into a mob, an intensely emotional crowd set on
doing violence to specific others or property.
Mobs are relatively short-lived because their intense emotion is difficult to sustain
A mob does not disperse until it has at least partially achieved its goal or agents of social control
prevent it from achieving its goals.
Is another intensely emotional crowd, but its violent behavior is not purposely directed like that
of a mob
Riot erupts when a triggering incident ignites a crowd’s emotion and they lash out in frenzied,
seemingly unfocused violence and destructions.
Sometimes riots stem from longstanding, but repressed anger
Riot can also erupt during celebrations
Panics and Hysteria
Panic is a feeling of overwhelming fear or terror, that can lead to impulsive actions that put
people in greater danger
Panic is the collective behavior that occurs when people who are confronted with a crisis or
serious threat respond irrationally and actually worsen their situations
Another form of collective behavior that involves fear and irrational behavior
In hysteria, the behavior is usually a response to an imagined event or a real event that has been
misinterpreted or distorted.
Rumors and Gossips
Rumor is a collective behavior engaged in both localized and dispersed collectivities.
These are information transmitted among people, usually informally and from unconfirmed
sources. It may be true or false, but typically as it spreads, it becomes a little of both because in
telling and in retelling, distortions, omissions, and embellishments frequently occur.
Gossip is a rumor about individuals’ personal lives rather than an issue or event.
Gossip is spread by a small group of people personally associated with the individual they’re
Consist of the attitudes expressed by members of the society, or those selected to represent
When we speak about the “public” we must keep in mind that there is no single public but many
publics. These publics differ in terms of sex, race, ethnicity, social class, age, sexual orientation
and a host of other factors.
Public Opinion is rarely, if ever, unified
It changes over time
Refers to currently favored styles of appearance or behaviors.
Are expressions of people’s contradictory needs to be unique on the one hand, but to fit in with
the group on the other. In other words, by adopting the latest fashions, one is not just a
trendsetter, but part of a group of trendsetters.
Fashions do not just appear spontaneously. Many fashions are carefully developed and
It is often very expensive which is why historically, trendsetters have been members of the
Fashions are a form of collective behavior unique to economically developed societies.
Is more temporary than fashion and at least mildly unconventional.
Fads have tremendous mass appeal and catch on very quickly, but they tend to disappear just as
Fads are also unique to high income industrial societies.
Theories of Collective Behavior
Emergent – Norm Theory
Emphasizes the emotional nature of collective behavior
Originally developed by social psychologist Gustave Le Bon and focused primarily on crowds,
including mobs and riots though it could also be applied to panics and outbreaks of hysterias.
Le Bon argued that when people congregate in large numbers, a “collective mind” emerges that
releases them from inhibitions and encourages them to behave irrationally.
People in crowds and other forms of collective behavior behave more like a herd of animals than
rational human beings.
It holds that people who think basically the same way, or share the same attributes, come
together or converge in collectivities.
Collective behavior is simply a way for likeminded people to express their common attitudes and
beliefs. Thus, collective behavior is not irrational at all; it makes sense in light of the sentiments
of the people engaged in it.
Emergent – Norm Theory
Sociologist Ralph Turner and Lewis Killian draw on the principle of symbolic interactionism to
explain collective behavior. Their perspective known as emergence-norm theory maintains that
although collective behavior often appears irrational, it is actually governed by norms just like
other forms of social interactions. The difference is that the norms emerge as the behavior
The norms that emerge are product of the collectivity’s definition of the situation which of
course may change as the interactions continues.
Is an issue-oriented group specifically organized to bring about or prevent social change through
It is considered a special type of collective behavior because they differ in important ways from
the other types.
Types of Social Movements
Reform Movement- tries to bring about limited social change by working within the
Usually target policy makers and the courts, with the purpose of influencing legislations.
Reform Movements also invest considerable energy in education to raise awareness of their
concerns and to persuade others to adopt their positions
Revolutionary Movements- The limits of reform movements lead some members to use
drastic measures to bring about sweeping social change.
Revolutionary movement seeks to replace the existing systems with a fundamentally different
Members of the revolutionary movements work outside the system to cause change, using
radical and often illegal tactics. Sometimes these movements resort to violence to achieve their
Religious Movements – also sometimes referred to as redemptive movements, focuses
more on changing individuals than social systems, but it nevertheless seeks profound change
deriving from unconventional spiritual or supernatural beliefs.
Members of religious movements sometimes live apart from non members and devote their
lives to the cause.