This week in class we analyzed the process through which crowds turn into mobs with the Iranian Green Revolution as our main case study. We developed a conceptual solution for a peaceful protester, whose main interest is safe political expression.
The characteristics of crowds change as they move from casual to increasingly focused and organized:
- Casual: a casual group is a gathering with no particular purpose. Example: Union Square on a nice day.
- Cohesive: a group with a common cause or interest. Example: People gathering for summer stage in Prospect Park.
- Expressive: a group with a common cause that acts as a group and has some purpose. Example: A political rally.
- Aggressive: a group where individual’s lose their autonomy as they adopt group behavior. Information and communication problems arise as the group becomes spacially and technologically isolated. Could be violent. During the Green Revolution in Iran, groups of protesters eventually devolved into mobs.
The movement towards an aggressive crowd, or mob, presents problems for various stakeholders in different ways. We considered, who benefits from promoting chaos? Regarding personal safety, there is safety in a crowd but danger in an aggressive mob.