1) clarify the ways that sports can bea potential vehicle for social change rather than just a game.2)

his initial integration of baseball, heIndians in 1975, 3 years afterTHINK IT THROUGHnearly refused to participate in aRobinson’s death.commemorative event because of hisSports has been a driver of socialWhat makes sports a potentialdisappointment in the fact that Majorchange in the United States and acrossvehicle for social change rather thanLeague Baseball had yet to appoint athe globe. The progress it has wrought”just a game”? Can you think of otherBlack team manager. The first Blackis, as Robinson saw, incomplete andinstances in which sports or particularmanager of a Major League Baseballimperfect but nonetheless of greatathletes have had a powerful socialteam was hired by the Clevelandsignificance.impact?. . . . .COLLECTIVE BEHAVIORtheories, which combine elements of personal, organizational,Collective behavior is voluntary, goal-oriented action thatand social conditions in order to explain collective behavior.occurs in relatively disorganized situations in which society’spredominant social norms and values cease to govern indi-CONTAGION THEORIES Contagion theories assume thatvidual behavior (Oberschall, 1973; Turner & Killian, 1987).human beings can revert to herdlike behavior when they comeAlthough collective behavior is usually associated with disor-together in large crowds. Herbert Blumer (1951), drawing onganized aggregates of people, it may also occur in highly regi-symbolic interactionism, emphasized the role of raw imita-mented social contexts when order and discipline break down.tion, which leads people in crowds to “mill about” much likeBeginning with the writings of the 19th-century Frencha group of animals, stimulating and goading one another intosociologist Gustave Le Bon (1896/1960), the sociological studymovement actions, whether peaceful or violent. Individual acts,of collective behavior has been particularly concerned with thetherefore, become contagious; they are unconsciously copiedbehavior of people in crowds-that is, temporary gatheringsuntil they eventually explode into collective action. A skilledof closely interacting people with a common focus. People inleader can effectively manipulate such behavior, “working thecrowds were traditionally seen as prone to being swept up incrowd” until it reaches a fever pitch.group emotions, losing their ability to make rational decisionsSociologists have used the contagion theory perspective toas individuals. The “group mind” of the crowd has long beenstudy the panic flights of crowds, “epidemics” of bizarre collectviewed as an irrational and dangerous aspect of modern soci-tive behaviors such as uncontrollable dancing or fainting, andeties, with crowds believed to consist of rootless, isolated indi-reports of satanic child abuse. In 1983, a local “panic” erupted inviduals prone to herdlike behavior (Arendt, 1951; Fromm, 1941;a small California city after a parent of a preschool child accusedGaskell & Smith, 1981; Kornhauser, 1959).teachers at her child’s school of raping and sodomizing doz-More recently, however, it has become clear that there canens of students. The trial in the case stretched on for years, butbe a fair degree of social organization in crowds. For example,no wrongdoing was ever proven and no defendant convicted.the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011-2012 and the ArabAccusations in the case, which drew on allegations from chil-Spring revolutions, which began in late 2010, although repre-dren and parents, included stories about teachers chopping upsenting spontaneous beginnings, quickly developed a degreeanimals at the school, clubbing to death a horse, and sacrificingof predictability and organization, and in turn became sociala baby. Public accounts of the trial unleashed a national panicmovements. It is important to note that crowds alone do notabout abuse and satanism in child-care facilities, though thereconstitute social movements, but they are a critical ingredientwas no serious documentation of such activities (Haberman,in most cases. In a social media age, however, sociologists may2014). Some sociologists believe that a few well-publicized casesneed to rethink the very notion of “spontaneity,” as collectiveof deviant behavior-including wild accusations like thoseaction today is often rooted in activist social media that contribdescribed above-can trigger imitative behavior until a virtualutes to informing and organizing collective behavior.”epidemic” emerges that then feeds on itself (Goode, 2009).Sociologists seek to explain the conditions that may lead agroup of people to engage in collective behavior, whether vio-lent or peaceful. Below we examine three principal sociological. . . . . . . ..approaches: contagion theories, which emphasize nonsocial fac-Collective behavior: Voluntary, goal-oriented action that occurstors such as instincts; emergent norm theories, which seek outin relatively disorganized situations in which society’s predominantsocial norms and values cease to govern individual behavior.some kind of underlying social organization that leads a groupto generate norms governing collective action; and value-addedCrowds: Temporary gatherings of closely interacting people with acommon focus.510Chapter 18: Social Movements and Social Change