Collective Behavior
Collective Behavior
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  • ISBN-13: 9780130886682
  • ISBN: 0130886688
  • Publication Date:
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall



This book is for all those who are curious about collective behavior. It explores the major sociological ideas that have been applied to the understanding of unusual group behavior, and the many and varied forms that such behavior can take. The study of collective behavior is the attempt to understand why things do not always happen according to the norms of society, and why people sometimes do terrible or silly things without being able to adequately explain their motives to outsiders. I have been teaching collective behavior to undergraduate students for several years. Each time I taught the course in the past, I tried a different combination of books, articles, and various other materials. My students were often less than thrilled with juggling so many different sources of information and I found the multitude of materials difficult to manage. I could not find one text that was sufficiently comprehensive and also filled with up-to-date examples. This book is intended to fill that void. My goal was to create one textbook that provides students and instructors with all of the basic materials needed for a semester of learning about collective behavior. I wrote this book with the undergraduate student in mind. All too often my students find their textbooks difficult to understandeven when they find the subject interesting.They become confused or frustrated and, as a result, they don't do the reading at all or they read the words without fully understanding the information. I have endeavored to create a textbook that reduces this obstacle to learning. I firmly believe there is no such thing as a textbook that is too easy to read. Although some theoretical discussions are necessarily dense, a novice can read this book without undue confusion. Whenever possible, difficult concepts are explained using clear, concise terms. I also tried to avoid unnecessarily complex sentence structure. No one learns if they can't understand what they are reading. There are certain qualities that I look for in a textbook. It must examine all of the major theories of collective behavior and classic social movement theories. A strong textbook must define the various categories of collective behavior and provide interesting examples of each one. It needs examples of events that have occurred within the students' lifetime--things that they actually remember. Equally important, though, it must also discuss the classic examples which sociologists are familiar and comfortable with. Finally, it ought to clearly demonstrate how each of the most useful theories can be used to understand exactly what happens during those episodes, and why. This allows the students to fully understand the theories and their application to events in the real world. This book is designed to fulfill all of those criteria. While the student was foremost in my mind, I also took the instructor's needs into account while creating this text. The entire book is structured in much the same way my course is structured: discussion of the major theories, followed by definition and examples of specific categories of collective behavior, finally ending with application of the theories to specific, recent examples. I suspect that many other instructors follow a similar pattern in their teaching. Classes always go smoother when the structure of the textbook matches the pedagogical style of the instructor. My goal was to give instructors a book that provides most of what the students will need for the entire semester. The examples are recent, eliminating the need for numerous photocopied handouts. The theory chapters are in-depth, eliminating the need to place classic books on reserve at the library. The analyses are detailed enough to help students understand how to do their own research into collective events and episodes. I also structured the book in such a way as to allow the instructor to pick and choose which theories and events to focus on.Locher, David A. is the author of 'Collective Behavior', published 2001 under ISBN 9780130886682 and ISBN 0130886688.

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