Psychology of Crowds and Collective Action (C8817)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

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.


54%: Lecture (Film, Lecture)
46%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Presentation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 24 hours of contact time and 126 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.