Christian Borch publishes new book on Cambridge University Press
Christian Borch: The Politics of Crowds: An Alternative History of Sociology has just been published by Cambridge University Press.
The book attempts to bring new life to contemporary discussions of collectivities and collective dynamics by tracing the destiny of sociological understandings of crowds and masses from the late nineteenth century until today. This involves analyses of classical French crowd psychology and sociology (Le Bon, Tarde, Durkheim, etc.); early German conceptions of crowds (Wundt, Simmel, Luxemburg, Kautsky, Michels, Freud, Geiger, etc.); American debates about urbanization and crowds (Whitman, Park, Blumer, Ross, Lippmann, Mead, Parsons, etc.); mass-society discussions (Ortega, Jünger, Mannheim, Arendt, Lederer, Kornhauser, Riesman, etc.); psychoanalytically inspired studies of proto-totalitarian mass phenomena (Reich, Broch, Fromm, Horkheimer and Adorno, etc.); mid and late twentieth-century reinvigorations and critiques of crowd thinking (Canetti, Turner, Killian, Smelser, Berk, Tilly, McPhail, etc.); as well as investigations of postmodern, post-political masses (Baudrillard, Sloterdijk, Maffesoli, Hardt and Negri, etc.).
‘There are over seven billion people on the planet, many of them crammed into cities. The result is that a politics of crowds is not a curio. It is a pivotal means of understanding how we are moved by the world. Christian Borch’s book is the clearest and best guide you could possibly have to the opportunities as well as the risks.’
Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick
‘A truly fascinating, learned and deeply thought-provoking reminder of the importance of crowd theory to the discipline of sociology. Politics of Crowds persuasively explains why the “problem of crowds” would have arisen in both the general and the academic culture of the 1880s, threatened to overwhelm the social sciences through the mid-20th century, and then (most fascinating of all) ebbed away again.’
John Plotz, Brandeis University
Cambridge University Press