Forgotten Sources and Inspirations of Crowd Psychology

Andrzej Domański

The objective of this article is to show the forgotten sources and inspirations of crowd psychology, developed within collective psychology starting from late 1880s. This publication discusses the influence of literary visions of the crowd in the first books of the concerned field of study (Sighele 1891, Fournal 1892, Le Bon 1895), where the crowd, inan analogical sense like in its epic picture, is characterized by: fierceness and impulsiveness, pressure of the group on a group member, dominance of women, different states of consciousness (alcohol) and contribution of the people from dregs of society. The thesis of Hippolyte Taine, focused on the French Revolution, was of key importance to the developmentof crowd psychology. Therein can be found nearly all the theses characteristic of crowd psychology. Another pillar of discipline comprised observations of animal communities conducted by Alfred V. Espinas. Apart from that, the authors of pioneering discoursesof collective psychology, in the face of deficit of scientific analyses of crowds, referred to better explored study areas such as psychic epidemics, epidemics of murders and suicides, moral plague, infectious insanity, hypnosis, collective suggestion, insanity of two (folie àdeux) and developed herein theory of suggestion and imitation transferring the conclusions formulated here to the ground of crowd issues.

Keywords: crowd · crowd psychology · collective psychology · collective behavior

Andrzej Domański – M.A. in Sociology, Lecture Assistant at the School for Social Medicine, Collegium Medicum of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Bydgoszcz. He is the author of publications on such topics as: theory of collective behavior, public opinion, fashion and fad, mass sociogenic illness, panic, collective emotion. The writer is preparing his doctoral thesis about the theory of collective behavior.   »  

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