An international and interdisciplinary conference to be held October 15-17, 2009, University of Tours, France.
Crowds, and more specifically urban crowds, have long been a favorite topic for human and social sciences, before fading out from recent research. Is this due to the fact that we have been moving on from an ‘age of the masses’ to an ‘age of the individual’? Indeed, if there is a wealth of studies of crowds at various turning points in history, we lack studies trying to bypass the canonical chronological boundaries and to develop a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue among the social sciences. Crowds are understood here as encompassing political, cultural and religious gatherings, either in a paroxistical form (riots, collective celebration) or in a more subdued, ordinary, form (social networks), as well as collective practices shared by a score of individuals. These collective practices bring crowds to invest the city as its major theatre; crowd action is an addition of individual gestures, postures, behaviors, slogans, cries, screams..., the modalities and temporalities of which deserve a study in their own right.
This conference is aiming at an approach which combines history, sociology, anthropology, social psychology, or literary studies of urban crowds.
Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
- theoretical approaches of ‘the crowd’ from the angle of various social sciences –anthropology, social psychology, political science… – or literary representations;
- when does a crowd become a ‘crowd’, i.e., when does a gathering of people come to be seen – and whom by ? – as a ‘crowd’? Does it change in space and/or time ?
- crowds in urban environments, their means of acting, positioning in, and negociating urban space;
- the various types of crowds : sports crowd, festive crowd, protesting crowd, consumerist crowd (Christmas shopping, the sales…), etc.; their behaviour, with particular attention to chants, speeches, slogans;
- crowd leaders, their means, methods and results;
- the influence of ‘populism’ on the masses;
- crowd movements relate to social and political passions;
- the means of checking and controlling crowds ;
- the influence of power institutions on gathering crowds and, in return, the influence of gathered crowds on the powers that created them ;
The conference committee will be pleased to welcome 300-word abstracts no later than May 30, 2009. Please include a CV or resume. Selected applicants will be notified by June 30, 2009.
Please send abstracts to
Dr. Christine Bousquet : firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Philippe Chassaigne : email@example.com
Prof. Stéphane Corbin : firstname.lastname@example.org
A selection of papers presented during the Conference will be published in a special issue of Mana. Revue de sociologie et d’anthropologie (University of Caen, France).
Prof. Philippe Chassaigne
Dept. of History
University of Tours
3 rue des Tanneurs
France Email: email@example.com
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