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Apr 20, 2024


Students will analyze any form of collective behavior using their personal observations.

Identify a form of collective behavior that you have observed, either in person or through media such as the Internet. Examples include a crowd at a concert or sporting event, a political or social meeting, a current fashion fad, people waiting for a train or bus, a celebrity rumor, or an Internet conspiracy.

Describe the collective behavior in detail: If it involves people, who is present? What unites them? How long are they together? Are they simply in the same place or are they organized?

Are they interacting, and if so, how? Is their behavior affecting each other or other people? If you are observing a fad, rumor, legend, or conspiracy, when did it start? What messages is it sending? Who is responsible for it and who else is involved?

Analyze this collective behavior using relevant sociological concepts and/or theories discussed in the readings and videos (see a partial list below). How can you explain the origin of this collective behavior, and where do you see it going in the future?

Sample Sociological Concepts/Theories about Collective Behavior

  • Casual, conventional, expressive, or acting crowds Fads
  • Fashion
  • Rumors
  • Urban legends
  • Riots
  • Mobs

Alternative, redemptive, reformative, transformative social movements Social networks

Structural strain Social norms

Social control

Shared values Obedience Value-added theory Assembly theory Contagion theory Emergent norm theory Convergence theory

Analytical Literature Review Guidelines

Students will analyze a specific collective behavior using peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles and primary sources. Analytical Literature Reviews involve describing the existing literature on your topic and personally analyzing the research as it relates to your research topic.

Assignment Instructions

(1) Select a specific example of collective behavior. Examples include Internet conspiracies about politicians, crowds at sporting events, race uprisings in the 1960s, or the Black Lives Matter movement.

(2) Review the existing literature on your topic using the York College Library databases by identifying several keywords. We can go over database searches and you can request assistance from a reference librarian.

(3) Select three (3) peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles. Make sure each source directly addresses your research question by reading the abstracts and skimming the articles. Select sources that have strong arguments or methodologies, are widely cited, or considered central in the field, or use current theories or data. Note that if your topic is very new, your sources might be more general or about a similar type of behavior.

(4) Select at least one (1) source directly from or about the collective behavior you`re studying, such as a website, news article, press release, brochure, and video.

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Total: GBP120

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