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A throng of people returning from a show of fireworks spill in to the street stopping traffic at the intersection of Fulton Street (Manhattan) and Gold Street in Lower Manhattan. City crowds are surprisingly peaceful considering their size and the potential for chaos.

A crowd leaves the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU (Washington Metro)station on the Washington Metro on July 4, 2006. The crowd behaves like a granular fluid, and people, having the same aim, are more confined than they would normally choose to be. This induces frustration and loss of manners, possibly up to putting individuals into jeopardy.

This street in Hong Kong is crowded with both people and adverts.

A crowd is a group of people, also known (especially in the United States) as a mob. The crowd may have a common purpose or set of emotions, such as at a political rally, at a sports game, or during looting, or simply be made up of many people going about their business in a busy area (eg shopping).

Terminology[edit | edit source]

The term "mob" carries a connotation of a crowd with an (often angry and sometimes riotous) agenda.

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

Social aspects of crowds[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 seeking to persuade a crowd to their view (e.g., political rallies), and from the point of view of society which usually attempts to contain them in an acceptable manner, or discharge their energies whilst averting excesses or mob behaviour, ultimately a decision made politically and usually executed by [law enforcement.

Psychological aspects of crowds[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 crowd-sickness, claustrophobia and agoraphobia.

See also[edit | edit source]

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References & Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Key texts[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Gaskell,0. and Benewick,R.{1987) (eds) The Crowd in Contemporary Britain, London: Sage.

Papers[edit | edit source]

  • Ajello, J.R. Nicosia, 0. and Thompson, D.E. (1979) Physiological, social and behavioural consequences of crowding on children and adolescents, Child Development 50: 195-202
  • Benewick, R, and Holton, R. (1987) The peaceful crowd. crowd solidarity and the Pope's visit to Britain. In:Gaskell,0. and Benewick,R.{1987) (eds) The Crowd in Contemporary Britain, London: Sage.
  • Griffitt, W. and Veitch, R. (1971) Hot and crowded: influences of population density and temperature on interpersonal affective behaviour, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 17: 92-8.
  • Waddington, D., Jones, K. and Critcher, C. (1987) Flashpoints of public disorder. In: G. Gaskell and R. Benewick (eds) The Crowd in Contemporary Britain, London: Sage.

Additional material[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

Le Bon, 0. (1895) The Crowd: a Study of the Popular Mind, New York: Viking Press.

Papers[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


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