A crowd is a large group of people that are gathered or considered together. A crowd may be definable through a common purpose or set of emotions, such as at a political rally, a sports event, or during looting (this is known as a psychological crowd), or may simply be made up of many people going about their business in a busy area. The term "the crowd" may sometimes refer to the lower orders of people in general.
Social aspects are concerned with the formation, management and control of crowds, both from the point of view of individuals and groups. Often crowd control is designed to persuade a crowd to align with a particular view (e.g., political rallies), or to contain groups to prevent damage or mob behaviour. Politically organised crowd control is usually conducted by law enforcement but on some occasions military forces are used for particularly large or dangerous crowds.
There is limited research into the types of crowd and crowd membership and there is no consensus as to the classification of types of crowds. Two recent scholars, Momboisse (1967) and Berlonghi (1995) focused upon purpose of existence to differentiate among crowds. Momboisse developed a system of four types: casual, conventional, expressive, and aggressive. Berlonghi classified crowds as spectator, demonstrator, or escaping, to correlate to the purpose for gathering.
Another approach to classifying crowds is sociologist Herbert Blumer's system of emotional intensity. He distinguishes four types of crowds: casual, conventional, expressive, and acting. His system is dynamic in nature, presuming that a crowd changes its level of emotional intensity over time.
Crowds can be active (mobs) or passive (audiences). Active crowds can be further divided into aggressive, escapist, acquisitive, or expressive mobs. Aggressive mobs are often violent and outwardly focused. Examples are football riots and the L.A. Riots of 1992. Escapist mobs are characterized by a large number of panicked people trying to get out of a dangerous situation. Acquisitive mobs occur when large numbers of people are fighting for limited resources. An expressive mob is any other large group of people gathering for an active purpose. Civil disobedience, rock concerts, and religious revivals all fall under this category.
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