Crowd Control

The Dish

Michael Bond rejects the idea of the “crazed crowd,” noting research that indicates “people in crowds define themselves according to who they are with at the time; their social identity determines how they behave”:

Years of field research have taught [researchers Clifford] Stott, [Stephen] Reicher and other social psychologists not only that mindless irrationality is rare within crowds, but also that co-operation and altruism are the norm when lives are at stake. …

At the University of Sussex, researchers led by the social psychologist John Drury have coined the term ‘collective resilience’, an attitude of mutual helping and unity in the midst of danger, to describe how crowds under duress often behave. There are many documented examples of this.

In 2008, Drury’s team interviewed survivors of 11 tragedies from the previous 40 years, including the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster when 96 Liverpool supporters died after being trapped in overcrowded…

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