Analysis of sport crowd behavior adapting Smelser's theory of collective behavior
McAllister, Kevin Michael
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The purpose of this study was to validate a new protocol for examining spectator behavior at high school sporting events. The methodology was based on the construct of Smelser's (1962) six determinants of collective behavior - conduciveness, strain, growth of beliefs, precipitating factors, mobilization , and social controls - and operationalised incorporating both qualitative (interviews and observations) and quantitative methods that included a behavioral assessment, an identification scale, and pre- and post-game emotional scales. Fourteen games (3 hockey, 6 soccer, 5 football) were observed over three stages of methodological development. Data were collected by teams of researchers at the games, and then were organized by themes relating to the six determinants. The themes were then examined against social and psychological theories attributed to spectator research, and examined for new construct relationships of the determinants. The research yielded a valid methodology for further spectator research, and suggestions for understanding spectator behavior are offered.
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