Collective Behavior And Their Theories Essay

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Question 1: Discuss collective behavior and their theories. Collective behavior according to Smelser is relatively spontaneous and unstructured behavior of a group of people who are reacting to a common influence in an ambiguous situation. Another definition given in the book Sociology: Comprehensive edition indicates that collective behavior refers to relatively unplanned and relatively unstructured behavior by large numbers of individuals acting with or being influenced by other individuals. The characteristics of collective behavior include: 1. Unusual This is when social structures and norms collapse and the roles of people change. An example is how people would react in case there is an explosion; people can get into their vehicles and start driving in the wrong direction while others may even get into other people’s vehicles. 2. High Level of Emotional Arousal These emotions include excitement, anger, sympathy and fear. People are usually high charged emotionally. 3. Urgency Collective behavior involves a sense of urgency. People usually feel that something has to be done immediately. A perfect example is how people start beating up a thief immediately he has been caught before they even verify the he has indeed stolen something. 4. Fluid and Unpredictable In collective behavior one cannot tell how the situation will turn out to be. Issues keep changing during the collective action. An example is how a peaceful protest could turn out to be a violent demonstration.
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