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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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The analyses conducted in this collective monograph allow us to reformulate Moscovici’s statement that the 20th century was the age of crowds and masses – into the statement that the 20th century was the age of crowds and masses in- deed, but also the age of agoral gatherings. I hope that this statement as refor- mulated above has been proved sufficiently in this monograph. The historical truth is that the political face of Central and Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century was created by two totalitarian systems which for a short time dominated as alien, but then after the Second World War, when Europe was divided into two permanently antagonistic military alliances (i.e. the Warsaw Pact and NATO), became a seemingly permanent stand-off also called the cold war. A spectacular example of this new shape of Europe was the divi- sion of the capital of Germany itself into four primary sectors, and finally, into two parts: East and West Berlin, separated by the Berlin Wall. This monograph tried to answer some intriguing questions such as: 1. Why did the communist system disappear in Europe during the last two dec- ades of the 20th century? 2. What were the factors which determined the collapse of the main military, political, social, economic and symbolic infrastructures of the communist system in Europe? 3. Why was the end of communism in Europe a peaceful phenomenon, except in the Balkan Peninsula, i.e. in former Yugoslavia? 4. Was this kind of phenomenon easily...

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