There are five kinds of crowd participants: 1) the ego-involved , who feel a high personal stake in the event; (2) the concerned , who have a personal interest in the event, but less than the ego-involved; (3) the insecure , who have little concern about the issue but have sought out the crowd because it gives them a sense of power and security ; (4) the curious spectators , who are inquisitive and may cheer the crowd on even though they do not care about the issue; and (5) the exploiters , who do not care about the issue but use it for their own purposes. The concept of emerging norms is important because it points to a rational process as the essential component of collective behavior. Frustration and anger at deprivation usually cause riots, such as the one, which erupted in Los Angeles after the verdict in the Rodney King trial. Beginning with a perception of being kept out of the mainstream society- limited to a meager education and denied jobs and justice—people’s frustration builds to such a boiling point that it takes only a precipitating event to erupt in collective behavior. It is not only the deprived who participate in the riots: others, who are not deprived, but who still feel frustration at the underlying social conditions that place them at a disadvantage also get involved. Panic , like the one, which occurred following the broadcast of H. G. Well’s “War of the Worlds” is behavior that results when people become so fearful that they cannot function normally. One explanation as to why people is because they are anxious about some social condition.
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- Fall '07