School of Psychology

Psychology of Crowds (C8817)

Psychology of Crowds and Collective Action

Module C8817

Module details for 2013/14.

15 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

This module is about crowds and other collective phenomena, including riots, protests, social movements, mass emergency behaviour, and mundane situations of crowding. A fundamental question we address is how large numbers of people are able to act as one, particularly in novel situations. In both psychology and popular accounts, many of the answers given to this question suggested that collective behaviour occurs through a diminution of self or identity. This explained what some (particularly outside observers) understood as the mindlessness and irrationality they observed in crowd events such as riots. The module critically reviews these arguments through drawing on contemporary theory and research on crowds and collective action, according to which collective behaviours and experiences are meaningful, purposive and often positive.

Module learning outcomes

Critically evaluate the adequacy of models of collective behaviour using evidence from a variety of different research studies.

Give examples of features of particular crowd events from scholarly accounts that challenge 'irrationalist' theories of the crowd.

Describe the relationship between identity and behaviour in collective events.

Seen ExaminationSemester 1 Assessment100.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Autumn SemesterLecture1 hour111111111100
Autumn SemesterSeminar1 hour111111111111
Autumn SemesterFilm2 hours000001000000

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr John Drury

Assess convenor, Convenor

Please note that the University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver courses and modules in accordance with the descriptions set out here. However, the University keeps its courses and modules under review with the aim of enhancing quality. Some changes may therefore be made to the form or content of courses or modules shown as part of the normal process of curriculum management.

The University reserves the right to make changes to the contents or methods of delivery of, or to discontinue, merge or combine modules, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University. If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the University reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the University withdraws or discontinues a module, it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative module.