Collective Effervescence: A Social Phenomenon


Collective effervescence is a social phenomenon that occurs when people gather in groups for an identical or similar purpose. Examples are concerts, sporting events and even riots. It is a group feeling often experienced by people in gatherings that can lead to behavior that is uncharacteristic of the individuals involved. It can be of a fun, moving or violent nature. What makes it collective effervescence is that the crowd and their focused attention causes it. A similar feeling while alone is not the same.

Collective effervescence is very closely associated with other social phenomena like collective behavior, hooliganism and mob rule. In fact, it may be this very feeling that leads to those phenomena. It tends to strip people of their senses of personal responsibility or burden, giving them the feeling that the group shares the responsibility or burden of whatever is happening. This is what makes it so bizarre. A calm person can turn violent without thinking of the consequences, whether that person is typically responsible or not.