NATURE OF COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR
All sociologists talk about "collective behave which described crowd behavior as an irrational," but few attempt ·to define it. When they national and uncritical response to. the psycho do, the definitions are useful. Smell
This theory reflects the elitist view of common people as childish, impulsive, and irresponsible. Later came the convergence theories, which focus upon the shared cultural and .personality characteristics of the members of a collectivist and note how these similarities encourage a collective response to a situation [Freud, 1922; All port, 1924; Miller and 001- , 1941]. The convergence theories view . ,collective behavior <15 more than foolish impulse and admit that collective behavior can be rational and goal-directed. Finally, the emergent norm theories claim that i- a behavior situation which invites collective behavior, a norm arises which governs the behavior [Turner and Killian, 1957, 1972]. An integrated synthesis of these theories is attempted by Smelter [1963, chap. 1]; however, it comes out as mainly an emergent norm theory. . His determinants of collective behavior are .
1 Structural conclusiveness. The structure of the society may encourage or discourage collective behavior, Simple, traditional societies are less prone to collective behavior than .are modem societies. .
2 Structural strain. Deprivation and fears of deprivation lie at the base of much collective behavior, Feelings of injustice prompt many to extreme action. Impoverished classes, oppressed minorities, groups whose hard-won gains are threatened, even privileged groups who fear the loss of their privileges-call these are candidates for collective behavior.'
3 Growth and spread of a generalized belief, Before any collective action, there must be a belief among the actors which identifies the source of the threat, the route of escape, or the avenue of fulfillment.
4 Precipitating factors. Some dramatic event or rumor sets the stage for action. A cry of "police brutality" in a racially tense neighborhood may touch off a riot. One person to run may precipitate a panic. S Mobilization for action. Leadership emerges and begins or proposes action and directs'
6 Operation of social control. At any of the above points, the cycle can be interrupted by leadership, police power, propaganda, legislative and government policy changes, and other social controls. Smelser's formulation has stimulated a good deal of criticism and experimentation (Oberschall, 1968; Wilkinson, 1970; Lewis, 1972; Berk, 1974a, pp. 40-46], remains perhaps the most widely used theoretical approach in the study of collective behavior today.