Crowds, leaders, and epidemic psychosis: The relationship between crowd psychology and elite theory and its contemporary relevance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The influence of the authors of the so-called “crowd psychology” on the conventional interpretation of the “irrationality” of the masses in political life has been widely recognized. More recently, Ernesto Laclau has underlined the influence of this tradition on the liberal-democratic views on direct, mass democracy. This conventional interpretation may be reconstructed starting from different intellectual traditions: crowd psychology, properly speaking, its complementary, the “classical” elite theory, and the influence of the positivist analysis of the “criminal” and “psychopathological” behaviors of the masses. However, this influence, far from being confined to the liberal distaste for mass democracy, has been relevant not only for the fascist regimes of the 20th century but also for the contemporary right-wing populist interpretation of the role of the masses in political life, in spite of its purported antielitism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1009181
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Political Science
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Crowd psychology
  • Elite theory
  • History of political ideas
  • Populism
  • Positivism

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Crowds, leaders, and epidemic psychosis: The relationship between crowd psychology and elite theory and its contemporary relevance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this