Collective Behavior and Social Movements

Chapter 17, Sections 1 and 2
Limited interaction– brief, sometimes nonexistent.
Unclear norms– no widely understood
Limited unity– lack of similar desired goals.
Mass hysteria
Urban legends
Public opinion= refers to the collection of
attitudes that members of a public have on
a given issue.
 Propaganda= an organized and deliberate
attempt to shape public opinion.
▪ Most effective way to influence the way that people
▪ Can be used negatively or positively.
Catagion theory= hypnotic power of a
crowd encourages people to give up
individuality to the stronger pull of the
 Gustave LeBon
Factors giving power to crowds:
 Individuals gain anonymity
 Spread of emotion is rapid and contagious
 Members are suggestible.
Emergent-Norm Theory= traditional norms
do not apply; with no clear standards,
individuals wait for a leader to emerge and
instill norms.
 Ralph Turner and Lewis Killian
Value-added theory= 6 basic principles;
these principles build upon one another. The
more preconditions/principles that are
present, the greater the likelihood of a
collective behavior occurring.
 Each condition present beforehand adds value, or
likelihood to the collective behavior.
 Neil Smelser
Goal of a social movement is to change
 Reactionary movement= reverse current social
▪ Re-emergence of the KKK in 1950s/1960s
 Conservative movement= protect society’s
prevailing values from the threat of change.
▪ Religious movements– protecting traditional family
 Revisionary movement= improve or revise some
part of society.
▪ Women’s suffrage movement of 1900s.
 Revolutionary movement= total and radical
change of existing social structure.
▪ American Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, Castro’s
revolution in Cuba
Four stages identified by Malcolm Spector and
John Kitsuse (example w/labor movements)
 Agitation
▪ Belief that a problem exists (low pay, harsh working
 Legitimation
▪ There is support for this movement (labor unions receive
 Bureaucratization
▪ Ranked structure of authority (labor unions have increased
number, elect leaders)
 Institutionalization
▪ Established part of society (labor unions now resist attempts
to change their structure)
Relative Deprivation Theory
 People join because they feel deprived of what
they feel they deserve.
 Seek to gain what they lack, but that others have.
Resource-Mobilization Theory
 Organization and effective use of resources is
necessary to have a social movement.
Both theories can be applied to a social
Think of a social movement that has shaped
history– world or U.S.
On a sheet of paper, clearly identify the four ‘life
cycles’ of this movement.
Possible examples:
Civil Rights movement
Women’s rights movement
Religious movements
Progressive movement
Awareness movement