Essay on Crowd Behaviour

3. “Crowd is a collectivity of substantial number of individuals responding within a limited space to some object of attention.

Examples: A group of bus passengers forming a crowd near a roadside canteen on the highway when the driver stops the bus for light refreshment.

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2. A group of people gathered in a bus stand or railway station waiting for their relevant vehicles.

3. A group of people gathered in a fish market to sell or purchase fish; or in a spot near the road to witness roadside circus, etc.

Characteristics of Crowd:

Crowds are loose textured groups; they are not just congregations of people. Here physical closeness leads to social interaction. Even if the members of the crowd actually try to avoid interper­sonal contact, they are compelled to be bound by it.

Crowds vary greatly in character and behaviour. It means, a crowd of one type, say, a crowd of cricket match spectators, differs from a crowd whose members are gathered in a bus stand to catch their bus. Most crowds, however, ha e certain characteristics in common. Four such characteristics may be noted.

1. Suggestibility:

People in a crowd are said to be highly suggestible. An individual in a crowd is susceptible to the interstimulation of suggestions. There exist heightened emotions and intense excitements in a crowd.

People are carried away by the opinions, feelings and actions of one another. Drums, trumpets, flags, banners, placards, slogans, and songs may be used to make people to become more emotional and to get excited. Emotions and excitements always add to the suggest­ibility.

2. Anonymity:

The individuals in a crowd feel that their identities will remain anonymous. They also feel that they are relatively insignificant and they could remain uncrecognised. This feel­ing of anonymity adds to the irresponsible behaviour of its members.

3. Spontaneity:

A crowd is spontaneously formed and is highly temporary in nature. Mem­bers of a crowd also tend to behave in a more spontaneous manner than they would on their own. They are more likely to be impulsive.

4. Invulnerability:

A crowd lacks self-consciousness. Since their personal identities are not recognised they feel that they can behave freely and without any inhibitions. They do not just bother about the hold of social control mechanisms.

Types of Crowd:

Herbert Blumer (1951) has spoken of four main types of crowd:

1. Casual Crowds:

The casual crowd gathers around a specific event, and its members have little interaction with one another. These are the most loosely structured of all crowds. The indi­vidual members here have the least emotional involvement in the crowd. Hence they can easily go away from it. Example: A group of people forming a crowd at the spot of car accident in a busy street.

2. Conventional Crowds:

These types of crowds are deliberately planned and relatively struc­tured. It is called “conventional” because its behaviour follows the established social norms and conventions. Example: An audience filled with parents and grandparents at a graduation ceremony is a conventional crowd. A conventional crowd gathers for a socially sanctioned purpose.

3. Expressive Crowds:

An expressive crowd gathers specifically for the purpose of letting out emotions. They are usually organised to permit the personal gratification of their members. It is an activity viewed as an end in itself. Example: A college dance, ‘Camp fire day’ celebrations at the end of N.S.S. or N.C.C. Camps, a religious revival meeting, the Holi festival celebrations of the Hindus, etc.

4. Acting Crowds:

The acting crowd focuses its attention on a specific action or goal. They are the crowds in action-mobbing, rioting, or engaging in other extreme forms of behaviour. The members are generally angry at some force or person outside of the group and want to act against it. Comparatively it is least common one. But socially it is the most significant of the four basic crowd types.

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