Theory and collective behavior

3 Jun

As posted on the Shared Teaching Resources Facebook group, one person shared: I use this in my classes to illustrate how theory shapes our observations and interpretations of social behavior. I have a worksheet in which students are presented with one of three theories of collective behavior, which are emergent norm theory, contagion theory, and convergence theory, and then they are asked to make observations and interpretations of this scene. Since I do not announce beforehand that they have been presented with different theories, when I begin asking people to talk about what they have written down, I usually get the chance to start keying in on “differences of opinion” on what is going on in the clip. It usually leads to a very rich discussion, and I end the period talking about triangulation and bricolage.

The clip is on Films for Action’s FB site and the voice over explains the significance of leadership in drawing a collective mass together. However, the application above is relevant as well.


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