'When the mobs are looking for witches to burn, nobody's safe': talking about the reactionary crowd

Drury, John (2002) 'When the mobs are looking for witches to burn, nobody's safe': talking about the reactionary crowd. Discourse and Society, 13 (1). pp. 41-73. ISSN 0957-9265

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Abstract

Previous research has successfully problematized the pathologizing discourses used to discredit crowd events. However, examples of reactionary crowds can operate rhetorically as an obstacle to a liberatory account of the crowd in history. The present paper presents an analysis of newspaper accounts of a series of 'anti-paedophile' crowd actions which took place in Britain in the Summer of 2000. Such accounts characteristically pathologized the crowd not only through use of particular terms and concepts, but also through anecdotes which served as evidence of diminished rationality. The paper analyses the rhetorical and ideological functions of these and other constructions identified in the texts, including those offered by participants themselves. A way of talking about the (reactionary) crowd is offered which distinguishes particular crowd ideologies from collective processes per se and which therefore avoids condemning collective action in itself.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: John Drury
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:48
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2012 08:37
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14478
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