Contemporary understanding of riots: classical crowd psychology, ideology and the social identity approach

Stott, Clifford and Drury, John (2016) Contemporary understanding of riots: classical crowd psychology, ideology and the social identity approach. Public Understanding of Science, 26 (1). pp. 2-14. ISSN 0963-6625

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Abstract

This article explores the origins and ideology of classical crowd psychology, a body of theory reflected in contemporary popularised understandings such as of the 2011 English ‘riots’. This article argues that during the nineteenth century, the crowd came to symbolise a fear of ‘mass society’ and that ‘classical’ crowd psychology was a product of these fears. Classical crowd psychology pathologised, reified and decontextualised the crowd, offering the ruling elites a perceived opportunity to control it. We contend that classical theory misrepresents crowd psychology and survives in contemporary understanding because it is ideological. We conclude by discussing how classical theory has been supplanted in academic contexts by an identity-based crowd psychology that restores the meaning to crowd action, replaces it in its social context and in so doing transforms theoretical understanding of ‘riots’ and the nature of the self.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 14:35
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2017 00:06
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/60239

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