Midterm Exam Study Guide - Midterm Exam Study...

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Midterm Exam Study Guide/Sociology 133/Winter 2008 I. The study of collective behavior A. Emergent v. culturally defined behavior B. Ways in which collective behavior emerges in "institutional" social settings (see M&M) C. Settings in which culture is indifferent, inadequate, or in dispute D. The continuum of emergence and cultural specification (see M&M) E. Theoretical frameworks of collective behavior 1. Contagion Model (i.e., group mind, herd instinct) a) weakness: wrongly assumes complete mental unity of a crowd so that individuals are helpless to resist the will of the crowd; collective behavior is likened to an infectious disease b) better if conceived as “suggestibility” or “circular reaction” (Blumer) 2. Convergence Model a) Crowds form on the basis of common interests/values/attitudes, grievances/strains, or common social characteristics (i.e., class, race, gender, religion, etc). b) weakness: wrongly assumes that collective behavior can be explained by the common beliefs and/or social characteristics of the crowd members; these similarities may explain why a crowd forms, but not how it acts. For this, you need to study the internal social dynamics of the crowd. 3. Emergent norm model: Emphasis on internal group processes,
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differential participation, and the process of redefining right and wrong through social interaction II. Processes of Collective Behavior A. Rumor 1. Shibutani's perspective on rumor a) Rumor as problem-solving and "improvised" news 2. Neil Smelser’s model: rumor ---> "generalized beliefs" -----> collective behavior (see M&M) 3. Why do individuals act differently in crowds? a) Seven social influence processes (see M&M) 4. Emergent Norm processes: milling, keynoting, risky shift, symbolization III. Fads A. Characteristics of Fads B. Theories 1. Fads and status a) George Simmel's explanation of fashion as an expression of social differentiation and social solidarity; fashion as a "modern" social form.
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