Collective Behaviour

Collective behaviour is “non-institutionalized activity in which several people voluntarily engage”(p.840)

Forms of Collective Behaviour

  • Localized
    • Crowd
    • Riot
    • Panic
  • Non-localized
    • Moral panic
    • Urban legends
    • Rumour
    • Fad
    • Fashion

Types of Crowds

  • Casual crowds
  • Conventional crowds
  • Expressive Crowds
  • Acting Crowds

There’s this idea of Situations that are defined as real become real in their consequences.

5 kinds of crowd participants

  1. Ego-involved
  2. Concerned
  3. Insecure
  4. Curious spectators
  5. Exploiters

Collective Groups


Mass: “large and dispersed number of people with a common interest”

Public: “unorganized, relatively diffused group of people who share ideas on an issue”

Is the crowd rational of irrational?

Old View: Crowds were seen as irrational. Herd mentality. Collective mind: people are swept up. Contagion takes over.

Modern View: The minimax strategy: we try to minimize our costs and maximize our rewards.

Turner and Killian (1993) Emergent Norm Theory: new definitions of right and wrong that emerge when something new has happened. New norms develop and seem rational