Table of Contents
Edward Alsworth Ross
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CHAPTER I: THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Social psychology treats of planes and currents. Relation of social psychology to sociology proper. A common environment or experience does not produce social planes. Race traits are not social planes. Such planes arise from interactions. Social psychology explains both society and the individual. Divisions. How planes of sentiment regarding slavery formed. Factors in the formation of religious planes. Imitation vs. Affinity.
CHAPTER II: SUGGESTIBILITY
The higher psychic growths imply association. Much of one's mental content comes from others. Psychic resonance. Sub-human suggestibility. Nature men. Culture men. Suggestibility in relation to age, temperament and sex. Women more suggestible than men. In the normal state indirect suggestion succeeds best. Effect of fasting ; of fatigue and hysteria. Nordau's theory. An alternative explanation. Theory of hypnotic phenomena. Normal and abnormal suggestibility. Miracle. Oriental magic. Source of suggestion -prestige. Traits of the born leader. Force vs. Prestige in 'politics. Duration of suggestion. Volume of suggestion: the secret of the might of public opinion; the fatalism of the multitude; individuality and numbers.
CHAPTER III: THE CROWD
Individuality and voluntary movement. Wilting of the self in the crowd. Fixation of attention. Excitement. Emotionalism. Arrest of thought. The leader. The psychic process in the crowd. The time element. The Kentucky Revival; its psychology. Why the crowd cannot last. Instability, credulity, irrationality, simplicity, and non-morality of the crowd. It is the lowest form of association. How deliberative assemblies escape. Mob mind in city dwellers; its bearing on booms and panics. Comparison of city and country in respect to crowd phenomena.
CHAPTER IV: MOB MIND
Differences between crowd and public. Ours the era of publics. Craze and fad as symptoms of mob mind. Theory of the craze. Socio-psychic phenomena in the early Church. The Children's Crusade. Mediaeval epidemics. Mental epidemics in America: Millerism; the Women's Crusade; Mrs. Nation. Financial crazes; the tulip mania. Stampedes. The "Great Fear." The war spirit of '61. The laws of crazes. Theory of the fad; Faddism vs. Progress. Why fads flourish nowadays.
CHAPTER V: PROPHYLACTICS AGAINST MOB MIND
Need of building up individuality. Education for criticism. How to become crank-proof. Steadying influence of the classic. The influence of sane teachers. Avoidance of the sensational newspaper. Sport trains to inhibition. Stability of the country-bred. Familism. Sobering effect of ownership. Voluntary association disciplines men. Intellectual self-possession as an ideal. Pride or love as moral mainspring. Avoidance of yellow religion.
CHAPTER VI: FASHION
Outward conformity and inward conformity. The passion for self-individualization. Its persistence in American society. Democracy does not exclude inequality. The two movements in the fashion process. The shackling of competitive consumption; the disappearance of sumptuary laws. Effect of caste. Acceleration of the fashion process in a commercialized democracy. Why fashions less stable. The characteristics of modern fashion. The rebellion against fashion and the liberalization of costume.
CHAPTER VII: THE NATURE OF CONVENTIONALITY
Conventionality reaches to the very framework of our lives and furnishes postulates for our thinking. Laborers accept the upper class stigma on toil; accept the commercial standard of human worth; and of civic worth. We adopt leisure class opinion touching conservativism. Certain standards of beauty originate in leisure class snobbery. Why it is unwomanly for women to use stimulants. "The spirit of the age" is a plane established by imitation.
CHAPTER VIII: THE LAWS OF CONVENTIONALITY IMITATION
Bodily movements spread readily: the Flagellants; the Dancing Mania; the jumpers; epidemics of convulsions ; national gestures. Onomatopoeia. The spread of dishes and drinks. Inflammability of the sex appetite. Feelings easily induced by suggestion; infectiousness of hope, fear, courage, curiosity. Unity more attainable through feelings than through beliefs. Ideal vs. Dogma as a religious rallying point. Seductiveness of imaginary characters; the grave responsibility of the Artist. Contagiousness of personal ideals. Sex charm follows the conventional female type; realizing a beauty ideal in the flesh. The radiation of will. Obedience draws other imitations in its wake. Tarde's law. Americanization of the Porto Ricans. Why nothing succeeds like success. Theory of survivals. Reverential imitation precedes competitive imitation. The spread of ideas precedes the spread of the arts. Why fundamental beliefs spread the farthest.
CHAPTER IX: THE RADIANT POINTS OF CONVENTIONALITY
Workingmen's refusal to accept certain bourgeois standards: late marriage; child emancipation. Merit may mount in defiance of social gravity. What the superior borrows from the inferior. Why colonists are conservative. Most diffusions, however, obey social gravity. The descent of wants; of culture; of manners and accomplishments; of ideals. Aristocracies the first assimilators of peoples. A live aristocracy is progressive and cosmopolitan. Why democracies must foster higher education. Differentiation of the arts and professions. Titular aristocracy as a hindrance to the diffusion of culture; the British nobility.
CHAPTER X: THE RADIANT POINTS OF CONVENTIONALITY (continued)
The power-holder is copied; the Roman Emperor; Rome; monarchs; national imitation of court luxuries and extravagances. The imitation of the successful. Struggle between the aristocracy of achievement and the titled. The pace-setters in our democracy. Imitation of the rich by Mammon worshippers. The rise of the American dollarocracy. Barbarizing influence of the Smart Set. The spread of a pecuniary civilization.
CHAPTER XI: THE RADIANT POINTS OF CONVENTIONALITY (concluded)
High potential of the city. The cities pass the torch to the rest of society; their spell upon the country. Capitals. Sapping of the country in monarchical France; the ascendency of Paris. The revival of local centres. Why the city has a glamour. Limits to metropolitan leadership. In democracies majorities are imitated. Among equals the greater number has prestige. The fatalism of the multitude vs. the leadership of the élite. The spread of ideas of equality by means of social gravity.
CHAPTER XII: CUSTOM IMITATION
Contrast of custom and conventionality; of custom and heredity. Why the familiar beaten paths are pleasant. Influence of animistic ideas. Pseudo-scientific sanction of customs, "historical continuity." The true view. Tendency toward the formation of an etiquette in language; in ritual; in dogma; in politics; in law; in administration; in education. The arrest of progress by a cake of custom: British immobility; American immobility. Why new societies outstrip all others ; the secret of the "Western " spirit.
CHAPTER XIII: CONDITIONS AFFECTING THE SWAY OF CUSTOM
Ancestor-worship. The age of governors and leaders: China compared with revolutionary France; old men in warfare and business; old men as custodians of religion and law. Overgrowth of State and Church. Physical isolation; mountains; islands; the backwoods; effect of improved communication. Linguistic isolation. Social isolation; the Jews; guest-friendship among the Greeks. House life. Literacy. The school may be instrument either of progress or of tradition ; universities as citadels of dead learning. Freedom of discussion. The supremacy of an ancient sacred book. Strong group or race feeling: no inter-assimilation among custom-bound peoples; Russian vs. American assimilation. Sedentariness. Culture contacts. In primitive times no contact of peoples save through war. Warfare breaks up habit and commingles the products of local developments. Familism. Dissolution of the kin group makes for individuality and initiative.
CHAPTER XIV: THE FIELDS OF CUSTOM IMITATION
Custom cannot thrive where there is competition. It persists in the less accessible fields. Collective habits more stable than individual habits. Habits of consumption more persistent than habits of production. The standard of living; ease of exploiting a custom-bound people; why unrestricted Asiatic immigration is dangerous; race suicide. Custom powerful in matters of feeling. Inter-race, inter-class, inter-confession, and inter-sex feelings resist change. Feeling not to be overcome by argument. Institutions of control slow to change. Archaism of law; of government; of organized religion.
CHAPTER XV: RELATION OF CUSTOM IMITATION TO CONVENTIONALITY IMITATION
Profound contrast between a traditional and an untraditional society. Oscillations between nationalism and cosmopolitanism. When custom rules the new pretends to be old. When conventionality rules the old pretends to be new; or the old denies the newness of the new.
CHAPTER XVI: RATIONAL IMITATION
Attitude of the rational imitator. Relation of moral and aesthetic progress to material and intellectual progress. Rational imitation admits of authority. Rationality in the spread of the practical arts: competition; measurement; why "schools " and "movements " in the fine arts. Rationality in the spread of science: applications; verification; Science vs. "Thought"; why "schools" in the latter. The extensive growth of rational imitation. Its intensive growth; the rising sciences.
CHAPTER XVII: INTERFERENCE AND CONFLICT
Silent conflict and vocal conflict. Struggle of prestige against prestige; of prestige against merit; the conflict between old and new. Duel between merit and merit. Means of deciding silent conflicts. The appeal to authority; the case of Joseph II. The resort to persecution; the psychology of martyrdom. Why silent conflict tends to break out into discussion.
CHAPTER XVIII: DISCUSSION
Discussion abbreviates conflicts. Why doomed causes hate it. Curative power of free discussion. Its growing copiousness. Talk does change opinion. When controversy is fruitful; when fruitless. Theory of the polemic. The path of degeneration of discussion; the appeal to force. Three phases of discussion. The evolution of discussion; its secular achievements; its law of development.
CHAPTER XIX: THE RESULTS OF CONFLICT
Struggles may last indefinitely because of innate differences in people; or because a paradox is pitted against an illusion. Struggles may terminate because one side is beaten; because a middle ground is found; or because specialization takes place. But no struggle is settled until it is settled right.
CHAPTER XX: UNION AND ACCUMULATION
Two sides to every culture fabric. Rigid and plastic sides of religion; of science ; of law; of industry and art. The non-accumulable elements are superior. But advance is easier on the plastic side than on the rigid. Precipitation of conflicts by the pressure of accumulated materials.
CHAPTER XXI: COMPROMISE
Compromise frequent in matters calling for collective action. Sometimes it breaks a social deadlock. Oftener it indicates an uncompleted conflict. Tragic feud between compromiser and reformer. English fondness for compromise. The Toleration Act. French penchant for symmetry and system. Advantages and disadvantages of compromise.
CHAPTER XXII: PUBLIC OPINION
The formation of public opinion in a campaign. Primary impression. The marshalling of authorities. Why independent judgment is often impossible; necessity of relying on the expert. The ascendency of the élite. Balloting a means of registering public opinion; manhood suffrage does not equalize Socrates and Sambo. Class influence in the guidance of opinion. The merging of public opinion into social tradition.
CHAPTER XXIII: DISEQUILIBRATION
Why an equilibrium is not reached. Disturbing influence of culture contacts ; of a shifting of the social foundations; of the afflux of inventions and discoveries. No prospect of the stationary state in the Occident. The laws of invention: degrees of possibility; degrees of difficulty; how society can promote invention. A lasting equilibrium neither possible nor desirable. Contradictions in a culture not due to want of logic; putting new wine into old bottles. An epoch of disequilibration gives the individual a chance. Effect of the ripening of the social mind upon individuality: the integration of culture; the diversification of culture.