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collective behavior

• extraordinary activities carried out by groups of people
• includes lynchings, rumors, panics, urban legends, and fads and fashions
• actions by a group of people who bypass the usual norms governing their behavior and do something unusual
• a broad term
• is rational

collective mind

• Gustav LeBon
• term for the tendency of people in a crowd to feel, think, and act in unusual ways

circular reaction

• Robert Park
• term for a back-and-forth communication among the members of a crowd whereby a "collective impulse" is transmitted
• influenced by LeBon's collective mind

acting crowd

• Herbert Blumer
• an excited group of people who move toward a goal

5 stages of an acting crowd

1. A background of tension or unrest.
2. Exciting event.
3. Milling.
4. A common object of attention.
5. Common impulses.

minimax strategy

• Richard Berk
• term for the efforts people make to minimize their costs and maximize their rewards
• the fewer costs and the more rewards we anticipate from something, the more likely we are to do it

emergent norms

• Ralph Turner and Lewis Killian
• term for people developing new norms to cope with a new situation; used to explain crowd behavior

5 types of crowd participants

• Turner and Killian
1. ego-involved
2. concerned
3. insecure
4. curious spectators
5. exploiters


• violent crowd behavior directed at people and property
• sparked by frustration and anger at deprivation
• resentment, tension, and unrest


• unfounded information spread among people
• unverified information about some topic of interest that is passed form one person to another
• thrives on conditions of ambiguity and fills in missing information
• most are short-lived and of little consequence


• occurs when people become so fearful that they cannot function normally, and may even flee the situation they perceive as threatening
• the condition of being so fearful that one cannot function normally, and may even flee
• can be set off by rumors

mass hysteria

• an imagined threat that causes physical symptoms among a large number of people
• no explanation except for suggestibility

role extension

• the incorporation of additional activities into a role
• servers, for example, extended their role to include helping people to safety

moral panics

• occur when large numbers of people become concerned, even fearful, about some behavior that they believe threatens morality, and when the fear is out of proportion to any actual danger
• a fear that grips a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society, followed by hostility, sometimes violence, toward those thought responsible
• often fueled by rumor


• novel form of behavior that briefly catches people's attention
• temporary pattern of behavior that catches people's attention
• short intense ones are called crazes
• when it lasts it's called a fashion


• a pattern of behavior that catches people's attention and lasts longer than a fad

urban legends

• stories with an ironic twist that sound realistic but are false
• although untrue, usually told by people who believe they happened
• Jan Brunvand views them as "modern morality stories"

social movements

• consist of large numbers of people who organize either to promote or to resist social change
• members hold strong ideas about what is wrong with the world - or some part of it - and how to make things right

proactive social movement

• a social movement that promotes some social change

reactive social movement

• a social movement that resists some social change

social movement organizations

• an organization to promote the goals of a social movement
• example: NAACP
• cultural crisis can give birth to many of these

alternative social movements

• a social movement that seeks to alter only some specific aspects of people
• the target is people
• example: Women's Christian Temperance Union

redemptive social movements

• targets individuals, but their goal is total change
• a social movement that seeks to change people totally, to redeem them

reformative social movements

• targets society
• a social movement that seeks to reform some specific aspects of society

transformative social movements

• targets society
• a social movement that seeks to change society totally, to transform it
• seeks to transform the social order itself

millenarian social movements

• a social movement based on the prophecy of upcoming upheaval
• based on prophecies of impending calamity
• one particular interest of this movement is a cargo cult

cargo cult

• a social movement in which South Pacific islanders destroyed their possessions in the anticipation that their ancestors would ship them new goods

transnational social movements

• a social movement whose emphasis is on some condition around the world instead of on a condition in a specific country
• also known as new social movements
• these movements often center on improving the quality of life

metaformative social movements

• a social movement that has the goal to change the social order not just of a country or two, but of a civilization, or even the entire world

6 levels of membership in social movements

1. the inner core
2. the committed
3. the less committed
4. sympathetic public
5. hostile public
6. indifferent and unaware public


• in this context, a dispersed group of people relevant to a social movement; the sympathetic and hostile publics have an interest in the issues on which a social movement focuses; these is also an unaware or indifferent public

3 types of public

1. sympathetic - although their sympathies lie with the movement, they have no commitment to it
2. hostile - movement's values goes against its own and wants to stop the social movement
3. disinterested - either are unaware or indifferent of the social movement

public opinion

• how people think about some issue
• the leaders of social movements try to manipulate the mass media to influence this


• in its broad sense, the presentation of information in the attempt to influence people
• in its narrow sense, one-sided information used to try to influence people

multiple realities

• any single point of view on some topic, there are competing points of view

mass society theory

• William Kornhauser
• an explanation for why people participate in a social movement based on the assumption that the movement offers them a sense of belonging

mass society

• industrialized, highly bureaucratized, impersonal society
• Kornhauser says that people join social movements because they live in these

7 propaganda techniques

1. name calling
2. glittering generality
3. transfer
4. testimonials
5. plain folks
6. card stacking
7. bandwagon

deprivation theory

• people who feel deprived - whether it be of money, justice, status, or privilege - join social movements with the hope of redressing their grievances

relative deprivation theory

• Alexis de Tocqueville
• the belief that people join social movements based on their evaluations of what they think they should have compared with what others have
• improving conditions can spark revolutions

agent provocateurs

• someone who joins a group in order to spy on it and to sabotage it by provoking its members to commit extreme acts

5 stages of social movement

1. initial unrest and agitation
2. resource mobilization
3. organization
4. institutionalization
5. organizational decline and possible resurgence

resource mobilization

• a theory that social movements succeed or fail based on their ability to mobilize resources such as time, money, and people's skills

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