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The Myth of the Madding Crowd : Social Institutions and Social Change-An Aldine De Gruyter Series of Texts and Monographs - Clark McPhail

The Myth of the Madding Crowd

Social Institutions and Social Change-An Aldine De Gruyter Series of Texts and Monographs

By: Clark McPhail (Editor)

Paperback Published: 31st December 1991
ISBN: 9780202303758
Number Of Pages: 295

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Crowd behavior is one of the most colorful but least understood forms of human social behavior. This volume is a major contribution to the field of collective behavior, with implications for social movement analysis.

McPhail's critical assessment of the major theories of crowd behavior establishes that, whatever their particular limitations and strengths, all share a general and serious flaw: their explanations were developed without prior examination of the behaviors to be explained. Drawing on a wide range of empirical studies that include his own careful field work, the author offers a new characterization of temporary gatherings. He presents a life cycle of gatherings and a taxonomy of forms of collective behavior within gatherings, as well as combinations of these forms and gatherings into larger events, campaigns and waves. McPhail also develops a new explanation for various ways in which purposive actors construct collective actions.

Industry Reviews

Outstanding Academic Book, 1992 (Choice)

-Outstanding Title!... The most important work in collective behavior since R.N. Turner and L.M. Killian's text, Collective Behavior (3rd ed., 1987). McPhail, a literate and leading contemporary analyst of crowd behavior, goes beyond Turner and Killian in assessing earlier approaches and in setting an agenda for future research... Chapter endnotes; exhaustive bibliography; good author and subject indexes. College and university libraries.-

--S. Cable, Choice

-This work can be read as a review of collective behavior theories from LeBon to the present or as the launching of McPhail's own effort to reforge thinking in the field... The myth to which McPhail refers is that individuals are transformed in a crowd, losing their individuality and capability of rational response. He carefully and effectively dethrones that position as well as Allport's individualistic version of the myth, which asserts that the madness-in-common in crowds is a product of shared individual dispositions simply intensified by the presence of others similarly disposed... Regardless of whether readers embrace McPhail's definitions and approach, they will find much that is useful in this important book in addition to its thorough, precise description and analysis of the theoretical history of collective behavior. Even if it were merely that, it would be required reading for everyone with an interest in collective behavior.-

--Norris R. Johnson, Social Forces

-[T]he models in this book are... a very important part of how things work.-

--Pamela E. Oliver, American Journal of Sociology

-[McPhail's] critique of previous work and his vision of future scholarship are especially valuable.-

--Contemporary Psychology

-It is difficult to praise this book too highly; it is the most scholarly assessment of crowd behavior yet published.-

--Reviewing Sociology Outstanding Academic Book, 1992 (Choice)

"Outstanding Title!... The most important work in collective behavior since R.N. Turner and L.M. Killian's text, Collective Behavior (3rd ed., 1987). McPhail, a literate and leading contemporary analyst of crowd behavior, goes beyond Turner and Killian in assessing earlier approaches and in setting an agenda for future research... Chapter endnotes; exhaustive bibliography; good author and subject indexes. College and university libraries."

--S. Cable, Choice

"This work can be read as a review of collective behavior theories from LeBon to the present or as the launching of McPhail's own effort to reforge thinking in the field... The myth to which McPhail refers is that individuals are transformed in a crowd, losing their individuality and capability of rational response. He carefully and effectively dethrones that position as well as Allport's individualistic version of the myth, which asserts that the madness-in-common in crowds is a product of shared individual dispositions simply intensified by the presence of others similarly disposed... Regardless of whether readers embrace McPhail's definitions and approach, they will find much that is useful in this important book in addition to its thorough, precise description and analysis of the theoretical history of collective behavior. Even if it were merely that, it would be required reading for everyone with an interest in collective behavior."

--Norris R. Johnson, Social Forces

"[T]he models in this book are... a very important part of how things work."

--Pamela E. Oliver, American Journal of Sociology

"[McPhail's] critique of previous work and his vision of future scholarship are especially valuable."

--Contemporary Psychology

"It is difficult to praise this book too highly; it is the most scholarly assessment of crowd behavior yet published."

--Reviewing Sociology Outstanding Academic Book, 1992 (Choice)

."..required reading for everyone with an interest in collective behavior."

--Social Forces

"[McPhail's] critique of previous work and his vision of future scholarship are especially valuable."

--Contemporary Psychology

"It is difficult to praise this book too highly; it is the most scholarly assessment of crowd behavior yet published."

--Reviewing Sociology

ISBN: 9780202303758
ISBN-10: 0202303756
Series: Social Institutions and Social Change-An Aldine De Gruyter Series of Texts and Monographs
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 295
Published: 31st December 1991
Publisher: ALDINE PUB
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41

Earn 241 Qantas Points
on this Book

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