Crowd / Edition 1

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Overview

Gustav Le Bon's The Crowd is not only a classic, but one of the best-selling scientific books in social psychology and collective behavior ever written. Here, Le Bon analyzes the nature of crowds and their role in political movements. He presents crowd behavior as a problem of science and power, a natural phenomenon with practical implications. Originally published in 1895, Le Bon's was the first to expand the scope of inquiry beyond criminal crowds to include all possible kinds of collective phenomena. Its continuing significance is evident even in the Los Angeles riots of 1992 in which Le Bon's theories were citedin testimony.

Le Bon emphasizes the various areas of modern life where crowd behavior holds sway, particularly political upheavals. He focuses on electoral campaigns, parliaments, juries, labor agitation, and street demonstrations. At the same tune, his treatment of crowds is far from complimentary. He likens crowds to "primitive beings," social formations barkening back to the evolutionary origins of humankind. Le Bon believed that ideas and images spread through a crowd by means of contagion, an automatic process that produces a state of transitory madness in its victims, extinguishing reason and will. Yet he does more than dwell on the pathologies of crowd life; he also writes of the heroism, the generosity, and the sacrifices of crowds, of the indispensable roles they have played in erecting the pillars of modern civilization.

In a new introduction to this edition, Robert Nye presents a broad analytical understanding of the relationship between power and knowledge hi crowd theory. He also discusses the historical circumstances and the various personalities who have shaped our understanding of crowds. Nye emphasizes The Crowd's continuing usefulness to cultural historians, psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists. He also places Le Bon in a rich tradition of European social theory.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560007883
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Gustave LeBon (1841-1931) was a French physician who wrote widely on scientific subjects, including anatomy and physiology, anthropology, and history. Many of his writings focused in particular on national traits, crowd behavior, and racial superiority. His numerous books include The Civilization of Arabs, The Psychology of Peoples, and The Crowd.

Robert Nye is George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the department of history at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of Crime, Madness and Politics in Modern France: The Medical Concept of National Decline and The Origins of Crowd Psychology: Gustave Le Bon and the Crisis of Mass Democracy in the Third Republic.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition 1
Author's Preface 27
Introduction: The Era of Crowds 33
Bk. I The Mind of Crowds
I General Characteristics of Crowds - Psychological Law of Their Mental Unity 43
II The Sentiments and Morality of Crowds 55
III The Ideas, Reasoning Power, and Imagination of Crowds 81
IV A Religious Shape Assumed by All the Convictions of Crowds 93
Bk. II The Opinions and Beliefs of Crowds
I Remote Factors of the Opinions and Beliefs of Crowds 101
II The Immediate Factors of the Opinions of Crowds 123
III The Leaders of Crowds and Their Means of Persuasion 139
IV Limitations of the Variability of the Beliefs and Opinions of Crowds 163
Bk. III The Classification and Description of the Different Kinds of Crowds
I The Classification of Crowds 177
II Crowds Termed Criminal Crowds 183
III Criminal Juries 189
IV Electoral Crowds 199
V Parliamentary Assemblies 211
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