The Meaning of Disorder


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The Meaning of Disorder



Collective Behavior - a continuum of unusual behaviors that are engaged in by large numbers of people.

  • Collective Behavior - a continuum of unusual behaviors that are engaged in by large numbers of people.

    • At one extreme is the spontaneous behavior of people who react to situations they perceive as uncertain, threatening, or extremely attractive.
    • At the other extreme are rallies,marches, demonstrations, protests and festivals.


Intentional efforts by groups in a society to create new institutions or reform existing ones.

  • Intentional efforts by groups in a society to create new institutions or reform existing ones.



Social movements often grow out of spontaneous episodes of collective behavior; once they are organized, they continue to plan collective events to promote their cause.

  • Social movements often grow out of spontaneous episodes of collective behavior; once they are organized, they continue to plan collective events to promote their cause.













Gustav LeBon developed the first modern theory of crowd behavior.

  • Gustav LeBon developed the first modern theory of crowd behavior.

  • Believed that individuals tend to lose their independence in a crowd.



Revolutionary movements seek to overthrow existing institutions and replace them with new ones.

  • Revolutionary movements seek to overthrow existing institutions and replace them with new ones.

  • Long evolutions shape the course of world history.

  • Social and political revolutions transform individual societies.



We tend to measure our own well-being against that of others.

  • We tend to measure our own well-being against that of others.

  • Even if we are doing fairly well, if they are doing better, we are likely to feel a sense of injustice and, sometimes, extreme anger.

  • This feeling of deprivation relative to others may result in revolutionary social movements.





Collective Action Frames have three main components:

  • Collective Action Frames have three main components:

    • An injustice component - includes indignation against a perceived injustice and the people who are said to be responsible.


An agency component - embodies the idea that “we” can do something the injustice.

    • An agency component - embodies the idea that “we” can do something the injustice.
    • An identity component - defines who “we” are, usually in opposition to a “they”.


Antiabortion and pro-choice activists confront each other at a demonstration outside a clinic in Wichita, Kansas.

  • Antiabortion and pro-choice activists confront each other at a demonstration outside a clinic in Wichita, Kansas.

  • The two are speaking rationally to each other, each from his or her own action frame based on his or her stance on the issue.



Social movements tend to form around a charismatic leader.

  • Social movements tend to form around a charismatic leader.

    • Charisma refers to special qualities that motivate people to follow a leader.
    • The institutionalization of charisma refers to the problem of incorporating the goals of charismatic leaders into a social movement.


Mahatma Gandhi was a revered and charismatic political figure of the 20th century.

  • Mahatma Gandhi was a revered and charismatic political figure of the 20th century.

  • His followers often endured personal sacrifice and danger, for his political strategies called for nonviolent civil disobedience in the name of moral values.



Karl Marx believed the increasing misery of the working class would lead to revolution.

  • Karl Marx believed the increasing misery of the working class would lead to revolution.

  • He advanced the theory of relative deprivation – stating people join social movements when they feel deprived relative to others in the society.



Totalitarian regimes

  • Totalitarian regimes

  • often use terror to

  • destroy trust.

  • This photo from the Holocaust shows Jewish families being rounded up for transport to concentration camps.

  • Under Hitler, the Nazis resorted to acts of terror to establish rule over German society.



Resource mobilization analyzes how social movements mobilize leaders and organizations.

  • Resource mobilization analyzes how social movements mobilize leaders and organizations.

  • Social movements must deal with the tendency of many people to reap the benefits without lending their support to the movement.



Research shows that the more a group has mobilized its resources as a protest movement, the more it will be able to mobilize the law in its favor.

  • Research shows that the more a group has mobilized its resources as a protest movement, the more it will be able to mobilize the law in its favor.



Large populations of potential participants who engage in collective behavior.

  • Large populations of potential participants who engage in collective behavior.

  • Factors contributing to the development of mass publics:

    • Increased leisure gained with the 40-hour work week.
    • Greater social mobility owing to a higher overall level of affluence.


Public opinion refers to the values and attitudes of mass publics.

  • Public opinion refers to the values and attitudes of mass publics.

  • Public opinion is shaped in part by collective behavior, especially social movements.





Often occur in cycles or waves.

  • Often occur in cycles or waves.

  • Waves of protest often result from social shocks.

  • During such periods there is a dramatic increase in social conflicts, often motivated by sets of beliefs and interpretations of events.





1. Which statement is false regarding collective behavior?

  • 1. Which statement is false regarding collective behavior?

      • It is often volatile and unpredictable in nature.
      • It can be studied within the context of organizations.
      • People engaged in it often become personally involved to a great degree.
      • It involves studying the isolated behavior of individuals, rather than group phenomena.


The following statement is false regarding collective behavior:

  • The following statement is false regarding collective behavior:

    • It involves studying the isolated behavior of individuals, rather than group phenomena


2. The basic distinction between "crowd" and "mass" is the variable of

  • 2. The basic distinction between "crowd" and "mass" is the variable of

      • action frame.
      • movement type.
      • physical setting.
      • motivating emotion.


The basic distinction between "crowd" and "mass" is the variable of physical setting.

  • The basic distinction between "crowd" and "mass" is the variable of physical setting.



3. Relative deprivation" has been used to explain participation in revolutions and other efforts to change society. Which statement is true concerning this concept?

  • 3. Relative deprivation" has been used to explain participation in revolutions and other efforts to change society. Which statement is true concerning this concept?

    • Those most apt to get involved are those who suffer from the greatest deprivation.
    • Those at the top of the class structure are most actively involved in changing the distribution of privilege within society.
    • It is not so much that people are actually deprived that determines participation; it is a function of their perception that they are deprived.


Relative deprivation" has been used to explain participation in revolutions and other efforts to change society. The following statement is true concerning this concept:

  • Relative deprivation" has been used to explain participation in revolutions and other efforts to change society. The following statement is true concerning this concept:

    • It is not so much that people are actually deprived that determines participation; it is a function of their perception that they are deprived.


4. Which is least likely to motivate collective behavior?

  • 4. Which is least likely to motivate collective behavior?

    • a. joy
    • b. fear
    • c. hostility
    • d. indifference


Indifference is least likely to motivate collective behavior.

  • Indifference is least likely to motivate collective behavior.




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