Sunteți pe pagina 1din 10

A Mead Project source page

Originally published as:

Herbert Blumer. "Moulding of Mass Behavior Through the Motion Picture."
Publications of the American Sociological Society, 29 (1935): 115-127.
Moulding of Mass Behavior Through
The Motion Picture
Herbert Blumer
It has been customary to link mass behavior with the idea of the "masses" and to regard the
latter as constituting a certain layer in the social structure. There is not always agreement as to
the particular stratum to which the "masses" are assigned. Many think of the masses as
consisting of that large bulk of the population which is without property and without
opportunity. Others, such as Sumner in his treatment in the Folkways, think of the masses as
made of the middle classes as opposed to the "social elite," and, consequently, as that central
body of the population which carries, preserves, and defends the mores of a given society.
Although there is obvious and important difference in usage between these two views they
agree in regarding the masses as a bounded horizontal portion of the population.
There is, perhaps, merit to this use of the term, but I regard "mass behavior" in an entirely
different sense. Mass behavior, as I see it, is not confined to any stratum of society. People
may participate in mass behavior regardless of class position, vocation, cultural attainment, or
wealth. In war hysteria, the spread of fashion, migratory movements, "gold rushes" and land
booms, social unrest, popular excitement over the kidnapping of a baby, the rise of interest in
golfthe participants may come from all distinguishable strata of the population. The "mass,"
then (and I shall use this term in preference to the term "masses") represents a population
aggregate which cuts across the lines of class, vocational position, and cultural attainment. It
is not to be identified with any special layer or layers of the societal structure.
There is a second point about the use of the term "mass behavior" that I should like to make
clear, namely, that by it I refer to a special kind of behavior. Mass behavior takes place in a
unique kind of situation; it does not include what the members of the mass do in their other
walks of life. This is a simple and obvious point but one which I wish to have clear. Mass
( 116) behavior. is to be placed alongside of other forms of behavior, such as familial
behavior, cultural behavior, folk behavior, and community behavior. It is an additional and
different species which people may engage in under certain conditions which are to be
Having indicated in this preliminary way the sense in which I use the terms "mass
behavior" and "mass" I wish now to proceed to analysis by considering three questions: (a)
what does mass behavior represent; (b) what is the nature of the mass that behaves; and (c)
how does a mass behave. The discussion of these three questions should make clear somewhat
the peculiar nature of mass behavior, and the particular role or function which it has in social
In considering the first questionwhat does mass behavior representI find it convenient
and telling to begin with the fact that the individuals who comprise the mass come from a
variety of local groups and cultures. Their family life, the communities in which they dwell,
the occupations in which they engage, the social positions which they fill, the customs and
traditions which they share locallyall of these are likely to vary greatly. Convenient
examples would be the mass of people following a murder trial in the newspaper; or the
motion picture audience, or those who adopt a new form of fashion. It seems clear that there is
a great heterogeneity of background among those who participate in mass behavior. This
point, I think, is very important. It indicates that the area of mass behavior is exterior to the
realm of local culture. The diversity of cultural and group backgrounds of the individuals
means that their behavior en masse is concerned with objects and experiences that transcend,
or better lie outside of, their local cultures. Also that their behavior in the mass is not integral
to the routine of their local group life. If the objects were traditionally covered by local culture
individual behavior would be confined to this local setting; there would be no behavior en
masse of individuals coming from divergent local cultures. The area of mass behavior,
consequently, can be said to be outside of the field of local culture.
This point, which is here made purely logically, is borne out, I feel, by the rarity of mass
behavior in settled folk communities. In folk communities where the forms and scope of life
are ordered, mass behavior scarcely occurs, and when it does occur it represents an excursion
from the days of such folk life. The forum of mass behavior, as we are acquainted with it
historically, is to be found in complex, heterogeneous societies, or in folk societies in a state
of disruption. Indeed, to me it seems a truism
( 117) to say that mass behavior and folk life stand in opposition. This point will be developed
more in the course of the discussion. I content myself here with the statement that in mass
behavior the attention of individuals is turned outward from local life and, consequently, that
the setting of mass behavior is in those situations where individuals are detached in varying
degree from local culture. A large number of detached individuals in a society is a fertile
ground for mass behavior.
The concern of mass behavior with objects and interests which transcend the demands and
preoccupations made by folk or local culture has both its destructive and constructive phases.
Destructive in the sense that mass behavior not only stands on the outside of folk culture but
represents an attack upon it. Things that catch the attention of the mass represent invasions as
well as innovations, experiences which do not arise in the texture of local group life and
which are not prescribed by local conventions. Mass influences always detach the individual
to some degree from his local group. The area of individual experience in which such
influences seem to operate is that which is not satisfied by local life. The individual is
responsive to mass appeals chiefly where his dispositions are not organized or served; the
operation of mass influences can be thought of further as tending to disaffect dispositions
which are accommodated inside of local culture.
By the constructive phase of mass behavior I merely refer to the point that such behavior
represents the beginning of efforts to introduce some sort of organization into that area of life
touched by the mass behavior. The alienation of the individual from his group implies his
participationeven though it be poor in a wider universe. The very fact that the individual's
attention is directed away from local group life, means that orientation is being made to a
larger world, to a wider scope of existence, and, in a measure, to a new order. This point can
be understood somewhat better if one recognizes that mass behavior implies that individual
dispositions, appetites, and wishes are not being satisfied fully by the forms of life in local
groups. Mass behavior can be thought of as efforts at searching or grouping which arise out of
this area of unsatisfied disposition. Mass behavior seems to represent preparatory !attempts,
however crude they may be, at the formation of a new order of living. It can be thought of as
constituting the earliest portion of the cycle of activity involved in the transition from settled
folk life to a new social order.
We may attempt an answer, then, to the first questionwhat does mass behavior represent
by declaring that it stands for a
( 118) type of behavior arising outside of the domain of local group life. It represents a
disintegration of folk culture, the preparation for a new order, and the quest of the individual
for a satisfying life not provided in his local living.
I wish to consider next what is the nature of the mass that behaves.
The mass is made up of detached individuals. These individuals, to be true, have their own
local attachments, share in convivial association, belong to primary groups, live and act to a
great extent in accordance with conventional patterns, but insofar as they belong to a mass, it
is as alienated individuals in a new area of life not covered by local group tradition.
The mass might be defined as a homogeneous aggregate of individuals who in their extra-
mass activities are highly heterogeneous. In the mass they are essentially alike, are
individually indistinguishable, and can be treated as similar units. Individual conspicuousness
or difference does not countif it is pronounced the individual is in a true sense divorced
from the mass. This homogeneity of the mass may be expressed also by saying that the
individuals in the mass are anonymous and have no designated places. They are anonymous in
part because they come from different local groups and social milieux, and, hence, do not
know one another. Further, because there is practically no communication or discourse
between them. But chiefly because in the mass they do not have any status or accepted
position. The mass is not organized like a social group, a society, or a community. It has no
settled framework of life, no established forms of social relations, and no allocation of
individuals to designated roles. Instead, as all writers seem to agree, it is inchoate and
formless. This is what is to be expected. Since it arises in situations alien to local culture and
is built up from detached individuals with heterogeneous backgrounds and is confronted with
circumstances for which there are no established rules for concerted behavior, it could
scarcely have an organization. And since it has no regular organization the individuals of
which it is composed have no status, are not allocated to any recognized niches, and have no
designated roles to carry out. The anonymity of the individual and the freedom of his behavior
from an em-bracing structure means that the control of his behavior must be made by direct
appeal and not by social authority or subtle pressure as in a social system.
All of this may be stated in a different way by declaring that the mass has no culture,
meaning by this that it has no traditions, no established rules or forms of conduct, no body of
( 119) adjusting the relations of individuals, and no system of expectations or demands.
If a mass represents an alienation from and attack upon folk life, if it consists of a
homogeneous mass of detached and anonymous individuals, and if it posseses no culture to
define conduct and establish cooperative organization, one may approach diffidently the
question as to how it behaves.
The answer, I think, is in terms of each individual seeking to satisfy his own needs. The
form of mass behavior, paradoxically, is laid down by individual lines of activity and not by
concerted action. The absence of effective means of communication between the members of
a mass which might enable them to reach under-standing; the absence of a defining culture
which might articulate their activities; and the absence of an organization which might
establish obligationsall help to explain why the mass has no concerted activity but merely
individual lines of action. These individual lines of action, as will be explained later, may
converge in a startlingly unanimous direction and thus make the behavior of the mass
exceedingly effective. But this is not a result of consensus or of mutual understanding. Mass
behavior, then, is a congeries of individual lines of action.
To characterize mass behavior further we should recall again that the mass is operating in
an undefined area without culture or rules, without a collective organization prescribing lines
of conduct. Its dispositions and feelings, accordingly, are likely to be vague and unchannelled,
its ideas and images amorphous and confused. Particularly the mass is likely to be inarticulate.
This inarticulateness, this vague disposition, and the absence of guiding rules explain why
mass behavior is likely to be rambling and groping, seeking avenues of expression instead of
following pre-scribed paths.
In the light of such factors one can understand why mass behavior is frequently capricious
and foolish. Many writers regard mass behavior as being inevitably irrational, disorderly and
perhaps vicious. The mass is likened to the mob or to the collection of individuals
participating in a mass demonstration. Its characteristics are regarded usually as those which
are displayed on such occasions: unrestrained excitement, yelling, milling, physical tension,
crowd hypnosis, submergence of the individual, manipulation by gesture and symbols,
emotional responsiveness to slogans and catchwords. It is true in a sense that the mass has
certain features of the mob, although I think it very easy to overstate this resemblance. The
similarity comes, in my judgment, in the fact that the mass does represent a group of people
( 120) in a state of tension with no prescribed rules of conduct. The individual, consequently,
is lacking a stable framework of reference from which to judge himself. Yet, it seems to me, it
is only under special conditions that the mass acquires the character of the mob. Instead, the
mass may be unassembled, quiet, deliberate, selective, brooding, and living in imagination
and inner experience rather than ebullient in physical activity. Correspondingly, while
leadership in mass behavior may frequently center in the use of catchwords and slogans and in
the whipping up of emotions and impulses, this is not a full explanation. True leadership
seems to be more definitely tied to the discernment of the underlying and inarticulate
aspirations, tastes, and appetites. The artist who touches and organizes these dispositions in
the mass is, in this sense, a leader without playing on credulity, primitive passion, or
conventional hatred.
With these preliminary remarks aiming to show (1) that mass behavior is a mere congeries
of individual lines of action; (2) that it may be irregular, capricious and foolish; and (3) that it
may be quiet, deliberate and deep-seated instead of mob-like and transitory, I wish to turn to
the forms or ways of mass behavior.
Perhaps the lowest form of mass behavior is merely attending to the object which concerns
the mass. What is significant here is not the action but the experience. The object, just because
it is foreign to the texture of local culture, is likely to be strange and interesting; the
experience with it, in however slight a degree, sensational, exciting, and disquieting. Because
of this character of the experience and because of the absence of prescribed paths of behavior,
there may be little in the way of overt action. The immediate result of attending to the mass
stimulus is likely to have its effect, instead, in the realm of inner experience, in awakened
disposition, challenged taste, stirred up imagination, or reinforced sentiment. The first form of
mass behavior, so-called, is of significance chiefly in how it prepares the background for other
ways of mass behavior.
The next advanced form of mass behavior is one which is difficult to detect and also
marginal to the chief way in which the mass acts. I should call it the dissipation of tension
inside of conventional forms. It really belongs to what Dr. Park has termed expressive
behavior. I refer to the fact that the vague dispositions, excitement, and altered tastes
awakened by the mass influences may have no avenues of expression in the mass situation.
Consequently, the energy to which they give rise may flow into conventional patterns of local
group conduct, chiefly into the dionysian forms, adding to them, seemingly, an exotic and
vehement tone.
( 121)
The chief way in which the mass behaves, however, is by making choices, selections, and
adoptions. It is in this way that it can be said that the mass really acts. Consider some of the
outstanding characteristics of the mass which have already been indicated: that it arises in an
area of experience which is undefined, that it consists of individuals who are detached and
anonymous, that its dispositions are vague, that it is inarticulate, that it does not have media of
communication for the inter-exchange of experience, and that its behavior consists of a
congeries of individual lines of action. Seemingly incapable of concerted action, it
nevertheless may assert itself by making selections from what is provided to it. These
selections always offer some possibility of satisfying the vague feelings and dispositions
which are felt. Whether it be the selection of a dentifrice, a book, a play, a party platform, a
new fashion, a philosophy, or a gospel, the mass gives expression to some disposition and
makes its action telling in social life.
It is in this selective action that the mass plays an important role in modern society. The
selective action may lead to great change, to great damage, to far-reaching transformations. It
is perhaps a chief way of making great alterations in the established order. All institutions are
responsive to the shifts in selective interest of the mass. The political structure, commercial
organizations, institutions of entertainment, and others, are sensitive to its movements. We
know how a shift in interest, in attitude, and in taste may disorganize a political party, wreck a
commercial institution, and disconcert institutions of entertainment. In modern life these
changes in mass selection may acquire such a rapidity and penetrate so far into the areas of the
usually stable and sacred as to threaten to be quite disruptive. It is of some interest to note that
every dictatorship is devoted to the suppression of the free operation of mass behavior; it
seeks to render the mass innocuous and to keep it under control. This is done largely by
limiting the range and freedom of its selections.
This selective action of the mass is the last form of mass behavior about which I wish to
speak. There are no other distinctive kinds that I recognize. One may ask, perhaps, whether
there isn't another form, namely, organized mass behavior. It is true that most of the
discussion of so-called mass behavior is concerned with such things as social movements,
reform enterprises, crusades, agrarian uprisings, and nationality and religious movements. In
my judgment, however, when mass behavior becomes organized into a movement it ceases to
be mass behavior as I have discussed it and becomes generically different, in short, societal in
nature. Its whole nature changes in acquiring a struc-
( 122) -ture, a program, a defining culture, traditions, prescribed rules, an ingroup attitude, a
group consciousness, and a status allocation of ;individuals. These are the attributes of a
society, over against which, it seems to me, mass behavior stands as the absence of society.
This picture of mass behavior as aggregate activity occurring on the outside of society and
culture, but containing in itself the forces and possibilities of a new societal order is one
worthy of more attention than it has received. It presents attractive and important possibilities
for research. It invites serious study by sociologists who, I think, have had their attention fixed
too much on the orderly forms of folkways and culture.
This whole discussion of mass behavior is a very lengthy introduction to a consideration of
the role of motion pictures. It provides, however, a helpful framework. My treatment of the
moulding influence of motion pictures will be chiefly a filling in and illustration of this
First, a word about the mass of "movie-goers"--the general motion picture audience. Its
general attributes are those of the mass. It consists of individuals with the most heterogeneous
backgroundsdifferences in families, in communities, in local cultures, in occupations, and
in class affiliations. This mass has no form or organization. It has no program, no rules, no
traditions, and no culture. It has no group consciousness, no we-feeling, no bonds of loyalty.
In it the individuals are anonymous, have no social positions, no designated functions.
Before considering how such a formless mass with such a heterogeneous background is
influenced and affected by motion pictures it is advisable to treat briefly the communicative
nature of the cinema.
The unique feature of motion pictures, of course, is its vivid visual presentation. The images
which are given are already fully established, clean-cut, easily identified, and easily followed.
The complete psychological significance of this vivid visual presentation has never been
stated. It seems clear, however, that it is conducive to ready comprehension or, what amounts
to the same thing, it makes it easy for the spectator to assume the role of the characters, to
identify himself with them quickly and effectively.
Much of the peculiar effectiveness of motion pictures comes from the use of the "close-
up."This interesting communicative feature deserves a few remarks. In motion pictures, as
contrasted with the theater, the physical distance between the spectators and the actors is not
fixed. This distance may be varied at will.
( 123) Through the close-up the audience may be ushered into the very midst of the scene of
action. This undoubtedly increases their sense of participation, but the phase of the experience
I wish to stress is that it establishes feelings of rapport and intimacy. Here I think we find a
genuine case wherein a decrease of physical distance is marked by a decrease in social
distance. The close-up brings the spectator into touch contact with the characters. It grants
him the privileged position of closeness, and permits him to observe at intimate range the play
of facial and bodily gesture. My belief is that the close-up inevitably induces a sense of
intimacy and of privileged familiarity. (Thornton Wilder in-forms me that the fan mail of
movie stars appears to be much more intimate in tone than the fan mail received by theatrical
or opera stars. In the latter the adoration is distant, seemingly conforming to the physical
separation set by the theatre.)
A third feature of motion pictures helpful to an understanding of their nature as a
communicative agency is their dramatic character. What is presented has a plot, a
development, and a climax. There is movement, progressive suspense, and sensed anticipation
all of which also facilitate ready identification on the part of the spectator.
This analysis should explain why motion pictures are such an effective form of
communication. Where the objects of concern are presented vividly and distinctly, where they
are brought into intimate and close touch with the spectator, and where they share the
impelling movement of drama, they arrest attention, check intrusion, and acquire control. The
individual loses himself in the picture.
To induce this absorption or identification on the part of the spectator is the avowed
purpose of the producer; to have the experience is the desire of the average movie-goer.
It is significant to note that to achieve the experience, motion pictures depend on appeals to
primary emotions and sentiments. This is inevitable, of course, in all drama. But in motion
pictures it is inevitably true. Little use is made of abstract forms or of complicated and remote
symbolism (a movement in this direction would occur, should motion pictures become a
cultural institution) but, instead, these is an exploitation of what is primary and universal in
human beings: emotions, passions, and sentiments. Since motion pictures are dealing with a
mass of individuals with enormous differences in educative and cultural backgrounds, it is on
this level that they find common responsiveness.
Let me summarize then by saying that as a form of communi-
( 124) -cation motion pictures operate as a visual, dramatic presentation, appealing primarily
to emotions and sentiments.
What is the general influence of motion pictures? My belief is that it is a reaffirmation of
basic human values but an undermining of the mores. This statement is not as contradictory as
it sounds. Since the appeal of motion pictures depends so much on touching primary
sentiments, it is not strange that they should stress those human qualities which are man's
universal possession. In the cinema, one finds the constant portrayal and approval of such
qualities as bravery, loyalty, love, affection, frankness, personal justness, cleverness, heroism
and friendship. Practically all motion pictures are tuned to the old and simple theme of
conflict 'between what has our sympathy and what has our antipathy, between the good and
the bad, between the desirable and the reprehensible. In motion pictures the sympathetic, the
good, and the desirable are compounded out of such human qualities as those mentioned
aboveout of those already having widespread allegiance, those whose value is
spontaneously appreciated. The elevation of these qualities to points of virtue and the
accompanying reinforcement of the sentiments for which they stand is what I have in mind in
declaring that motion pictures reaffirm basic human values.
However, the social patterns or schemes of conduct inside of which these primary human
qualities are placed are likely to be somewhat new, strange, and unfamiliar. The characters,
the setting, the events, and the forms of life presented are novelin varying degree, but
always to some degree. In a sense they have to be novel in order to attract attention. Further, it
is to be expected that they would be strange and different because of the heterogeneity of the
cultural backgrounds from which the movie-goers come. Herein, motion pictures operate like
all agencies of mass communication to turn the attention of individuals outward from their
areas of locally defined life. This concern with the new, the strange, and the different, is not
merely a direction of attention to the outside of local culture; it is an attack upon the local
culture. For these new forms of life which are presented in the movies become attractive and
understand-able, and develop a claim on one's allegiance. This is done by these forms of life
being colored, so to speak, by the basic human qualities which are placed in them and operate
through them. The beneficent value of the sentiment is imparted to the form of life which
carries it; what was originally alien becomes suddenly emotionally familiar. This penetration
of basic human values into new social forms constitutes one of the most interest-
( 125) -ing features of motion pictures. It explains why and how they undermine the
prevailing patterns of local culture.
The residue of this invasion of local culture by motion pictures is in the form of awakened
appetites, impulses, desires, yearnings, and hopes which even though experienced only
momentarily and given expression only in day-dreaming, orient the individual in directions
different from those prescribed by his tradition and culture. In my investigations I have found
this to be noticeable particularly in the case of adolescents.
In further elaboration of this view that motion pictures operate against traditional forms and
the mores, I should like to add that movie-goers, by reason of being a mass in an undefined
area have no culture which might interpret and order their cinema experiences, and integrate
them with those of local life. Instead the experiences remain alienated with no scheme to
bridge them. It is this absence of an intermediate defining culture which makes motion
pictures a matter of moral concern. It is also at the heart of the problem of their control.
Without an intervening scheme of interpretation, the problem is inevitably met on the basis of
controlled selectioncensorship or choice of which pictures are to be seen.
If motion pictures, however, tend to alienate people from local culture they also prepare
people for the wider area of life. This is done by enlarging their acquaintance, making new
forms of life familiar to them, providing them with definite and defining images of this life,
and suggesting to them "techniques" for adjustment to it. Motion pictures not only bring new
objects to the attention of people but, what is probably more important, they make what has
been remote and vague, immediate and clear. By reason of this ability they are especially
effective in establishing stereotypes. This effectiveness is greatest where the initial familiarity
with the object is least, for in such situations the object now shown in a definitive and familiar
way becomes a norm. By portraying life in clearly seen and easily understood form motion
pictures lend themselves to imitation of "techniques," and sometimes by reason of the
appealing presentation invite such imitation.
Much might be made of this point that motion pictures sensitize people to new areas of life
and prepare them for action in these areas. They serve the adolescent, particularly, as an
educative agency. The point is not new, is adequately documented by studies which have been
made, and is, I think, of minor importance. I wish to turn from it to the discussion of a phase
( 126) motion picture influence which although little understood, I regard as of central
In the detachment of the mass from local culture and the turning of their attention towards
an outside world, the influence of motion pictures seems to be felt most in the realm of
reverie. The motion picture experience is, itself, a form of reveriein turn it is a great
stimulus and feeder to further reverie. We do not know how to interpret the meaning of this
reverie nor are we able to trace its effects. Many have claimed that it represents a harmless
satisfaction of disturbing and dangerous impulses and serves, accordingly, to keep the
individual house in order. But there is plenty of evidence for the counter belief that, instead, it
whets appetites and stimulates impulses, leading to tension and not relaxation, to excitement
and not quiescence, to disequilibrium and not organic harmony. Each interpretation is
probably correct, but we do not know under what given conditions.
What I think is quite true is that there is an intimate relation between reverie, awakened
disposition, and basic taste. The play of reverie, whether ordered as in the motion picture or
free as in individual day dreaming awakens various impulses, furnishes objects upon which
they may fasten, sketches schemes of possible conduct, and launches the individual upon
vicarious journeying in new social worlds. That this rich play of inner experience has
important effects on dispositions and tastes is seemingly true even though the nature of these
effects is obscure. My interest at this point is merely in stating that mass reverie not only
reflects the spirit and feelings of people but also invigorates and moulds this spirit and these
In this respect motion pictures are akin to folk tales and serve a role in modern life similar
In this respect motion pictures are akin to folk tales and serve a role in modern life similar
to that played by the latter in folk life. There is, however, a difference between them which is
important for this discussion. To state it vigorously: folk tales reinforce the folk culture by
reason of being closely integrated with it whereas motion pictures are integrated with no
culture. The first part of the statement, I take it, needs no defense; the second part needs to be
made clear. In declaring that motion pictures are integrated with no culture I am saying again,
in part, that they stand on the outside of local life and serve to detach individuals from it. In
this sense they do not fit into and reinforce local life as is done by folk tales and folk legends.
But, further in explanation of the point, motion pictures, I think, can be said to have no
culture. They are the product of secular business groups with commercial interests. The
motion picture industry has no cultural aim, no cultural policies, no cultural
( 127) program. The schemes of life shown in motion pictures, the institutional values which
are stressed, the latent philosophies of conduct which are impliedall these show great
diversity and inconsistency. They are a strange and incongruous mixture, with no guiding
ideal, with no unity, and with no consistent scheme of life.
For this reason the play of motion pictures on reverie assumes a different character from
that of folk tales. Its stimulation of reverie is likely to be distractive and confusing, probably
making inner experience more lively but more unsettled and chaotic.
These remarks are intended neither to point out defects of the work of the motion picture
industry nor to suggest a point for reform. Were the motion picture industry to seek to become
a cultural institution inside of a society of free masses it would probably quickly collapse.
Like any secular institution operating in an area of shifting interest the motion picture industry
is highly sensitive to the varying desires of its clientele. One need but point to the anxious
attention paid by the industry to the box-office receipts to guide their program of production.
The mass of movie-goers is the final arbiterto seek to impose on them a cultural program
would be very hazardous, financially, to the movie industry.
This backward control over motion pictures which is exercised by the selective acts of the
individual movie-goers suggests the idea that the cinema, despite its lack of culture, may be
operating unwittingly to help prepare an order of life in a free and secular society. This idea is
purely speculative. But one might interpret the shifting play of motion pictures in response to
the selective acts of the mass, as unconscious experiments in feeling out the developing tastes
and aspirations of the people and helping to mold them into a consistent pattern of life. I
mention this at the very end of the paper, because it may mean that the free play of the masses
does not represent inevitably an endless period of disintegration and absence of discipline. It
may be merely transitional and preparatory to a new order of life measuring to a newly
developed taste.
No notes

!2007 The Mead Project.

The content of this page is still protected by copyright in the United States of America and can not be reproduced within its boundaries for any purpose
other than one's own scholarship. The Mead project exercises no control over that copyright.

This page and related Mead Project pages constitute the personal web-site of Dr. Lloyd Gordon Ward (retired), who is responsible for its content.
Although the Mead Project continues to be presented through the generosity of Brock University, the contents of this page do not reflect the opinion of
Brock University. Brock University is not responsible for its content.

Fair Use Statement:

Scholars are permitted to reproduce this material for personal use. Instructors are permitted to reproduce this material for educational use by their
Otherwise, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy,
recording or any information storage or retrieval system, for the purpose of profit or personal benefit, without written permission from the Mead Project.
Permission is granted for inclusion of the electronic text of these pages, and their related images in any index that provides free access to its listed

The Mead Project, c/o Dr. Lloyd Gordon Ward, 44 Charles Street West, Apt. 4501, Toronto Ontario Canada M4Y 1R8

This document was last revised on Monday, 10 February 2014

You accessed this version from at the Mead Project on Monday, 10 February 2014