Crowd events exemplify the complex two-sided relationship between the individual and social reality. On the one hand, crowd action reflects the structure and culture of the society within which it occurs. On the other hand, crowd action reflects back on society, serving to shape and reshape the world in which we live. In sum, the crowd encapsulates the core paradox of human action: the fact that we both determine and are determined by the social world. It follows that an adequate understanding of crowd psychology will provide general insights into the nature of human sociality.

Yet, both within the academic discipline of psychology and beyond, crowds are seen as asocial and irrational, an aberration from the normal workings of society rather than a reflection of them. ...

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