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Beyond Crowd Psychology

The Power of Agoral Gatherings

Adam Biela

This book tries to answer some intriguing questions concerning the power of agoral gatherings. The 20 th century is discussed as an age of crowds and masses. The book asks why the communist system disappeared in Europe during the last two decades of the 20 th century and examines the factors which determined the collapse of the main military, political, social, economic and even symbolic infrastructures of the communist system in Europe. It poses the question why the end of communism in Europe was a peaceful phenomenon – except in the Balkan Peninsula. The author also discusses the predictability of this kind of phenomenon. In order to answer these questions the book introduces and extends the notion of agoral gathering as a new concept in the area of collective behavior and interprets the large-scale political transformations in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s in terms of peaceful collective behaviors as a political alternative for post-communist countries.

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Acknowledgements

Extract

I would like to express my thanks to the Scientific Committee of the 27th Con- gress of the German Psychological Society (DGPs), and particularly to the Chairman, prof. Rainer Riemann from the University of Bielefeld, for accepting my proposal to organize a thematic symposium (Arbeitsgruppe) on agoral gath- erings, within the scientific program of the Congress at Bielefeld University in September 2012. My gratitude is also for the participants of the Symposium at Bielefeld Uni- versity (in 2012) about Agoral Gatherings that have changed the political face of the Eastern and Central Europe, and for the Authors of the chapters of this book – for their fruitful cooperation. Zofia Szozda and Aleksandra Biela-Wołońciej made a great effort to do the English editing of the manuscripts for the publica- tion by the Peter Lang Verlag. Prof. Berndt-Joachim Ertelt, from the Hochschule der Bundesagentur für Arbeit at Mannheim, kindly wrote an evaluation of the manuscript to obtain financial sponsorship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for printing this book.

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