Some Forms of Crowd Behavior
THE AUDIENCE. An audience is a crowd with interest centered on stimuli outside themselves. The stimuli are mainly one-way. With themovie, radio, or television audience, the stimuli are entirely one-way. Every instructor,
however, realizes that a performer before a - "live" audience is affected by the audience reaction. An unresponsive audience will take the sparkle out of almost any sermon, lecture, or nightclub performance. With an audience, then, there may be significant two-way stimulus and· response, even though the audience situation discourages the communication. The most successful performers cultivate a two-way cornmunication which seems to make the performer a part of the group [Berger, 1971). There is also a certain amount of communication between
members, as they cheer, applaud, boo, whisper, mutter, doze, or snore. Social contagion still operates, usually at a more subdued level than in other crowds-highly subdued at a sedate church service, more.freely expressive at a political rally or a sports event. Audiences may become unruly and may even become riotous.THE RIOT. A riot is the action of a violently aggressive, destructive crowd. It may be a religious riot, like that between the Hindus and the Moslems in India in 1947 [Duncan, 1947; McGinty, 1947) or between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. It may be a nationality riot, like that between American servicemen and Mexicans in Los Angeles in 1943, or. the so-called "zoot-suit" riot [Turner and Surace, 1956), or. the many mob actions against European immigrants n the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries [High-am, 1955]. Race, religion, or nationality-no matter what the cause, the crowd behavior is much the same. A group is disliked because it is different; or it serves' as a convenient scapegoat; or it is hated because it competes too successfully. With suitable stimulating incidents and without effective police. discouragement, persons who are individually frustrated and insecure start action; it builds and grows: the attacked group strikes back, and the riot is under way.