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COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, AND SOCIAL CHANGE EXPLANATIONS OF CROWD BEHAVIOR What causes people to act collectively?—what’s the difference between a crowd or rabble and a movement? Gustave LeBon (1841-1931), a French sociologist, created the contagion theory focuses on the social-psychological aspects of collective behavior—how attitudes and moods are communicated—people in a crowd feel anonymous and invulnerable—in 1895, LeBon posited that a crowd takes on a life of its own, emotions become contagious and a collective mind emerges, at least temporarily--people will do things as part of a crowd that they would not do individually Robert E. Park (1864-1944)—first U.S. sociologist to expand Le Bon and studied the impulses that people can break away from the “powerful hold of culture” and established routines—added the concepts of social unrest and circular reaction, which involves the communication of discontent from one person to another, in a dialectical process, who in turn reflects the discontent back to the originator
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This note was uploaded on 02/10/2012 for the course SCIE SYG2000 taught by Professor Bernhardt during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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