Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Erin E. Robinson
Collective behavior is defined as mass activity among a specified population and is often used to describe action of localized mass public activity. Collective action usually occurs among aggregates who meet and disperse and interact on a temporary basis. Examples range from crowds at sporting events, to a collection of individuals listening to a public speaker, to protest activity and public rallies. Historically, collective behavior was viewed as deviant behavior. It was assumed that individuals engaging in these activities were somehow disengaged from society and rebelling against society's norms. However, theorists argue that individuals may be rebelling against society's norms because they are so connected with the social institutions they seek to change. Before Robert Park coined the term “collective behavior,” psychologists were analyzing variations on this concept. Freud, Lebon, and others began writing on crowd psychology. This concept differed from the more recent understandings of collective behavior. Early analysts ...