Collective Behavior: Spontaneous and unstructured?

Collective Behavior: Spontaneous and unstructured?

American Collective Behavior

One might take issue with the concept of collective behavior because it seems to lack a robust definition. Collective behavior is often defined by being spontaneous or resulting from incidents such as protests, riots, or even movements that occur suddenly. This definition lacks critical understanding since behavior is often so broad in scope because of its various causes that determining it to be spontaneous is difficult. This brings into question whether behavior irrational or rational? Is it always spontaneous? More research needs to be done in this area but more to the point behavior needs to be looked at in a microcosm when making certain judgements. Certainly a riot might be considered collective but a few fights at a concert might not since their causes may vary.

America isn’t lacking in collective behavior as seen in many American reactions resulting from culture. Americans typically do not like to be bothered with issues until they become apparent on a larger scale. For instance, many Americans were not that concerned with the issues in the Middle East until 9/11. The isolated nature of America has impacted the perception of problems and issues. There is collective behavior because of culture, but it is different as compared with European countries which are connected and must work more cohesively in order to share resources. Claiming Americans lack collective behavior is also a somewhat baseless assumption. Whenever a natural disaster or destructive event, Americans respond almost immediately and instinctively. When 9/11 occurred people from all over the United States responded with fund raising and volunteering. Thousands of volunteers descended on ground zero. In this sense, American collective behavior is not lacking but is culturally different. This idea highlights the need for more study in the concept of collective behavior as there may be many factors and elements that differentiate this phenomenon.


Triola Vincent. Fri, Jan 22, 2021. Collective Behavior: Spontaneous and unstructured? Retrieved from

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