Tma01 Dd307

Part 1
Critically evaluate the deindividuation account of crowd behaviour. How well does it explain rioting behaviour?
Word Count: 1,681
Deindividuation is the process of immersion into any group to the extent that an individual loses their own identity, ceases to reason as a distinct individual and succumbs to thinking collectively.   (Festinger et al 1952).   Although some researchers view crowd behaviour as something positive (example: being involved in civil rights movements), most researchers suggest that crowds are amoral arenas, dangerous masses which should be controlled. (Dixon and Mahendran, 2012)   Furthermore, most researchers reflect on deindividuation as a catalyst for disinhibited and anti-normative behaviour in crowds ‘’that is responsive to the immediate demands of a situation’’. (Dixon & Mahendran, 2012,)   In this essay, I will evaluate Deindividuation to understand how it explains crowd behaviour and rioting.
The Deindividuation theory derives from early foundation studies in crowd behaviour first explored by French Social Psychologist Gustave Le Bon. In Le Bon’s 1895 text, ‘’The Crowd; A Study Of The Popular Mind’’, Le Bon lays out his theory of Anonymity and Contagion as the foundation principles crucial to understanding the formation of crowd behaviour.   In this spirit, Le Bon suggests that being but one among many creates a feeling of   anonymity and the individual is enticed to seeing moral responsibility as spread among the whole group rather than   individually.   (Le Bon 1895). Henceforth, the individual feels less culpable for their actions and the result is aggressive, disinhibited and primitive behaviour. (Dixon and Mehandran, 2012)   According to Le Bon, being part of a crowd results in the individuals’ characteristics being hidden and a collective mind-set of being intellectually weak emerges as a group characteristic. Le Bon’s   theory of Contagion   is understood as collective behaviour, ‘’contagious by nature, spreading fast within a...