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Crowd

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File:Crowd in street.jpg
A crowd of people returning from a show of fireworks spills into the street stopping traffic at the intersection of Fulton Street and Gold Street in Lower Manhattan
A crowd leaves the Vienna station on the Washington Metro in 2006.

A crowd is a large group of people that are gathered or considered together. The term "the crowd" may sometimes refer to the lower orders of people in general. A crowd may be definable through a common purpose or set of emotions, such as at a political rally, a sports event, or during looting (this is known as a psychological crowd), or may simply be made up of many people going about their business in a busy area.

Terminology[edit | edit source]

The term crowd is sometimes defined in contrast to other group nouns for collections of humans or animals, such as aggregation, audience, group, mass, mob, populous, public, rabble and throng. Opinion researcher Vincent Price compares masses and crowds, saying that "Crowds are defined by their shared emotional experiences, but masses are defined by their interpersonal isolation."[1]

In human sociology, the term "mobbed" simply means "extremely crowded", as in a busy mall or shop. In animal behaviour mobbing is a technique where many individuals of one species "gang up" on a larger individual of another species to drive them away. Mobbing behaviour is often seen in birds.

Social aspects[edit | edit source]

Social aspects are concerned with the formation, management and control of crowds, both from the point of view of individuals and groups. Often crowd control is designed to persuade a crowd to align with a particular view (e.g., political rallies), or to contain groups to prevent damage or mob behaviour. Politically organised crowd control is usually conducted by law enforcement but on some occasions military forces are used for particularly large or dangerous crowds.

Psychological aspects[edit | edit source]

Psychological aspects are concerned with the psychology of the crowd as a group and the psychology of those who allow their will and emotions to be informed by the crowd (both discussed more comprehensively under crowd psychology), and other individual responses to crowds, such as claustrophobia, agoraphobia and social anxiety. At a general level, crowd psychology is concerned with the behaviour and thought processes of individual crowd members and the crowd as a whole. Given the prevalence of crowd events, and the potential safety issues associated with such large gatherings of people, the topic is receiving increasing attention from agencies responsible for crowd management and also from governments.

Many studies on crowds have given insights on how crowds respond to different situations. One 2009 report highlighted many observable behaviors of crowds,[2] including evidence that crowds are able to make united decisions regarding their direction and speed of movement, even if only a few of its members have the information required to make such decisions.[2] The degree to which informed members can affect the crowd depends on their position within the group, with those in the crowd's core likely to have a greater influence.[2]

See also[edit | edit source]


Others articles of the Topic Society : Decentralization

Others articles of the Topic Sociology : March for Our Lives Portland, Sociology, Social change, Belief, Communication
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References[edit | edit source]

Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Public Opinion By Carroll J. Glynn, Susan Herbst, Garrett J. O'Keefe, Robert Y. Shapiro
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Challenger, R., Clegg, C. W., & Robinson, M. A. (2009). Understanding crowd behaviours. Multi-volume report for the UK Government’s Cabinet Office. London: Cabinet Office. http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/understanding-crowd-behaviours-documents

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • Le Bon, Gustave (1895), The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind
  • Rudé, George (1964), The Crowd in History: A Study of Popular Disturbances in France and England, 1730-1848, Wiley
  • McPhail, Clark (2017), The Myth of the Madding Crowd, Routledge, ISBN 9781351479073

External links[edit | edit source]

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