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Beyond Crowd Psychology

The Power of Agoral Gatherings

Edited By 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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Grzegorz Kida: Towards the Social and Cognitive Model of Macro Transformations in Poland

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Towards the Social and Cognitive Model of Macro Transformations in Poland Grzegorz Kida 1. Introduction It is hypothesized that the collective behaviors (e.g. peaceful demonstrations, non-violent marches, strikes) called agoral gatherings, had a significant psycho- social impact on the society which caused the rapid mental changes in the peo- ple, first in Poland in 1979 and in the 80s and then in other Central and Eastern European countries. These changes accelerated a process of social integration and led to the citizens articulating their need for freedom, self-determination and collective decision making in a public affair. Seven major characteristics of the agoral gathering are proposed: (1) behaviors guided by higher values; (2) nonvi- olent behavior of participants; (3) voluntary participation; (4) public assembly; (5) mass-scale; (6) participants’ consciousness of the social importance of the gathering, and (7) a positive social impact from this phenomenon. Agoral gatherings, first of all, accelerated the large-scale political changes in Europe of the 80s and shifted these changes in a peaceful. bloodless and demo- cratic direction. We can see the historical sequence which accelerated the changes. The agoral gatherings that took place during the Pope’s visit to Poland in 1979, accelerated a social integration which resulted in a social movement in Poland called “Solidarność”. Ten million people were involved in this move- ment whose agoral gatherings during the strikes finally effected a radical change in Poland. And this process continues. According to Moscovici’s historical treatise on mass psychology, the XXth century can be called the age...

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