Crowds and History: Mass Phenomena in English Towns, 1790-1835

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 20, 2002 - History - 380 pages
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In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, urbanisation 'revolutionised' English society as much as industrialisation. Central to this urbanising process, and the civic culture it inspired, was the bringing together of people in large numbers - to celebrate, commemorate, vilify or validate. Contemporary observers found the power and potential of urban crowds both awesome and alarming. They witnessed the capacity of the masses to confer honour and prestige upon a proud city elite or, by turning hostile, to bring civic ruin. Yet this ambivalent relationship between the individual and the crowd, which resonates through not only the nineteenth century but all human history, has remained generally ignored by historians. They have regarded crowds almost exclusively as a riotous, disruptive and protesting force. This book, which is the first systematic historical study of mass phenomena, challenges such preconceptions and re-defines the place of the crowd in history.
 

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Contents

The crowd and History problems of historiography
3
The crowd in history problems of definition and method
32
PATTERNS PROCEDURES AND POWER
47
Introduction the ordering of the urban environment
49
Contexts for crowds in four towns Bristol Liverpool Norwich and Manchester
57
Time work and the occurrence of crowds
102
Symbolism ritual and the location of crowds
140
Masses and masses the language of crowd description
168
Introduction corporate bodies
195
Meetings and elections
202
Celebration and ceremonial
234
Riot and revolt
268
Conclusions
315
Bibliography
322
Index
346
Copyright

CASES CAUSES AND CONTINGENCIES
193

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