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This chapter outlines a crowd psychology for the 21st century that includes processes of collective memory and globalization. The argument begins by outlining the main characteristics of crowd thinking, especially the importance of ideational images for forging affective group attachments and motivating action in a common direction. It proceeds to elaborate the important place of a group’s traditions in crowd theory with the concept of collective memory, where a reservoir of past images serves to orient action in the present thus moderating social changes. In a globalized world, images are quickly transmitted around the world, where they enter into the social-politic dynamics of different localities, becoming symbols for new causes. Under these conditions an uprising in one part of the world can spark one elsewhere. Some of these images and symbols may even become a part of global collective memory. Finally, the chapter highlights how Moghaddam’s concept of ‘mutual radicalization’ can be read through the lens of globalized crowd psychology.
Revolutions in a society resemble earthquakes. Suddenly—often unexpectedly—there emerges a rupture in the texture of the society that leads to turmoil in economics, the social order, and human states of mind. At all levels of a society under revolution expectations arise that life will never be the same. But how precisely do these social transformations and changes in expectations occur? This is an open question when one looks at the history of societies, particularly because there is often a rift between the expectations that arise and the actual changes that come about through revolutions. The French Revolution of 1789 shattered the whole of Europe and led to transformations of political and social orders—as well as further revolutions in Europe (in 1830 and 1848), Latin America and in Russia (1917). Empires end—those of Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the British Empire are good examples—yet they turn into new forms of social organization which sometimes begin to resemble old ones. Our times are not different in this respect, as can be seen in protests and uprisings around the world since 2011. This chapter reviews some of the ways social scientists have approached revolutions and outlines the different contributions to this book.
Political conflicts today are struggles over presence and visibility. The right to place images in public space is significant beyond the meaning of the images, as it represents the power of the group that has placed and successfully defended it in public space. This paper unpacks the politics of images through examples from the 2011 Egyptian uprising. The focus is on four key functions of images: visibility, mobilization, positioning, and commemoration. These are exemplified by case studies of continous image transformations in urban space in relation to the themes of authority figures, the flag, the tank and bullets. An argument is made for how images go beyond merely representing politics to actively intervening in their dynamics.
Since 2011 the world has experienced an explosion of popular uprisings that began in the Middle East and quickly spread to other regions. What are the different social-psychological conditions for these events to emerge, what different trajectories do they take, and how are they are represented to the public? To answer these questions, this book applies the latest social psychological theories to contextualized cases of revolutions and uprisings from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century in countries around the world. In so doing, it explores continuities and discontinuities between past and present uprisings, and foregrounds such issues as the crowds, collective action, identity changes, globalization, radicalization, the plasticity of political behaviour, and public communication.