The Age of the Crowd
The Age of the Crowd is at one level a historical account of the development of mass psychology, and at another an analysis of its implications for present-day political and social life. It was the prophecy of Gustave Le Bon in 1895 that the twentieth century would be 'l' âge des foules' that gave Serge Moscovici the title for his book, and it presents a systematic exposition of Le Bon's ideas and those of another seminal figure, Gabriel Tarde, demonstrating convincingly their influence on the theories of collective psychology advanced by Sigmund Freud. These theories - today either neglected or simply accepted as received wisdom - are re-examined by Professor Moscovici in a fascinating commentary on modern political life: Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky all in some way applied them in their leadership styles with consequences that are all too familiar. The scenario painted by this volume is a disturbing one. Serge Moscovici's acute analyses of mass phenomena - whether crowd violence. In Poland or Iran, or mass hysteria in sports stadiums or at rock concerts - raise fundamental questions concerning the foundations of democracy.