Social Movements, Collective Behavior Books, Abstracts, Bibliography, Journals, Syllabus
Collective behavior is defined as activity involving a relatively
large number of people that is often spontaneous. Social
movements and activism are organized and relatively sustained activities that have a
clear goal in terms of achieving or preventing some social
In all societies and civilizations, people have absorbed themselves
in episodes of dramatic behavior, such as the crowd, the riot, and revolutions. The nature
of these episodes has evolved into a field of sociology and a concept known as collective
Collective behavior is "the actions, often disorganized, taken
by a large number of people gathered together usually in defiance of society's norms."
The three generalized types of collective behavior are:
localized, which include crowds/mobs/riots
dispersed, or mass behavior, which include rumor/gossip/fads/public
The Importance of Learning Collective Behavior
Studying collective behavior can be very practical and useful in today's society. One
example is the safety of people who become involved in crowds. There have been numerous
accounts of crowds/mobs/riots that have turned dangerous and even fatal. People have been
trampled to death at concerts, building panics, and crowd surges in the past; but, had
there been knowledge of crowd management and behavior, with better architectural design,
injury and loss of life could have been avoided. Studying collective behavior will allow
people to better understand how people respond in certain situations. Predicting these
outcomes can help prevent conflict from becoming worse in a destructive way.
What Is Collective Behavior?
People in many countries have taken to the streets protesting against US action in Iraq.
Divided groups are on the street demanding or opposing abortion rights, gay marriages or
gender discrimination. Many people have started wearing tattoos instead of clothes. All
these come under collective behavior.
Collective behavior includes a range of behaviors based on concern and attitude or just
panic and fads. It includes many sociological sub-fields. Many areas of sociology involve
the study of behavior but they tend to be restricted to niche areas.
University syllabii for "Collective Behaviour" course lists crowds, panics,
social movements and many more. But what is common to them. What should be part of the
list? and what should not be? Will a silent peaceful march be included? Is a labor dispute
based on agreed rights collective behaviour? Is a religious congregation an example of
For a complete essay on Collective Behaviour go to:
Books On Collective Behavior
Wisdom of Crowds : Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes
Business,Economies, Societies and Nations by JAMES SUROWIECKI, ERIK SINGER
Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure
Brian Skyrms' study of ideas of cooperation and collective action.
Social Mind : Cognitive and Motivational Aspects of Interpersonal Behavior by Joseph P.
Forgas (Editor), Kipling D. Williams (Editor), Ladd Wheeler (Editor)
to Collective Behavior and Collective Action - David L. Miller
Over the last half-century, the field of collective behavior and collective action has
generated some of the most innovative research methods in sociology. Now titled
Introduction to Collective Behavior and Collective Action, provides the first systematic
overview of collective action theory and research written at the undergraduate level. It
is also the first to offer a side-by-side presentation of collective behavior and
collective action theories, providing clarity of presentation and aiding in comparison and
discussion of the two perspectives.
Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action (Comparative Politics)
by Mario Diani, Doug McAdam (Editors)
Herds : Economic Models of Social Learning by Christophe P. Chamley - November 24,
2003 "Christophe Chamley brings the reader to the state of the art in formal modeling
of social learning.
Behavior - David A. Locher
David Locher illustrates all the major sociological perspectives and theories of
collective behavior and classical social movements. Addresses the study of collective
behavior, theory, categories of collective behavior, an analysis of modern episodes of
collective behavior and social movements. For those curious about collective behavior.
Violence - Steven E. Barkan, Lynne L. Snowden
Collective Violence discusses and analyzes this behavior through the eyes of social change
researchers and theorists. This book defines a new subfield in the study of collective
behavior and social movements, focusing on the characteristics, history, and structure of
Collective Violence teaches readers how to understand violent group behavior on the only
level at which it can be controlled, at the group level. Rather than focusing on the
social conditions that may lead to violence or the characteristics of individuals who
might join these groups..
For anyone interested in the sociology of group behavior, society, and criminal justice..
Theories of collective behavior and classical social movements