Crowds Ethnographic Encounters
What exactly is a crowd? How do crowds differ from other large gatherings of people? And how do they transform emotions, politics, or faith? In Crowds, contributors draw on their experiences and expertise to reflect on their encounters with crowds. Each chapter examines a particular crowd or conception of crowdedness to provide an analysis of how, when, where—and with whom—crowds form in different contexts, as well as their purpose and the practical effect the experience has on both the participants and their environment. The wide selection of case studies ranges from the crowds that form every year during the Hajj, to New Year celebrations in China, commuters on the Delhi metro, public prayer in Nigeria, online mobs in Bangladesh, and the crowds that have emerged during protest movements in Thailand and Syria. Crowds makes a key contribution to establishing an anthropological theory of crowds and will be an essential read for both students and researchers.
"This exciting and original book explores a previously untouched dimension of the ethnographic encounter. It reveals myriad dimensions of significance that anthropologists have long-experienced but neglected to discuss. Buy it. - Paul Rabinow, The University of California, Berkeley, USAA topic of great concern a century ago, crowds have returned to claim their place in our collective imaginations. They have done so in a radically new socio-technological milieu, but continue to inspire both fear and sometimes hope. This wonderful volume invites us to think beyond familiar figures of the crowd haunting liberal modernity, instead focusing on varied experiences of crowding to develop new conceptualizations more adequate to our age. - Francis Cody, University of Toronto, CanadaThis important collection of ethnographic encounters demonstrates how we can position ourselves phenomenologically to understand a fixture of the early twenty-first century—crowds. The studies break new ground in locating the crowd as a medium and object of ethnographic inquiry. Expertly introduced by Steffen, providing a broad range of experiences, and featuring a guide for further reading, this volume is a must-read for anyone thinking reflexively in an ever-crowded world. - Matthew S. Erie, University of Oxford, UK"