Crowds and Power
Ranging from soccer crowds and political rallies to Bushmen and the pilgrimage to Mecca, Canetti exhaustively reviews the way crowds form, develop, and dissolve, using this taxonomy of mass movement a...more
An astounding book. It reads like a series of essays by Montaigne but all directed toward the phenomenon of human organisation. Each essay, which might include references as diverse as the anthropology of South American tribes to the history of European warfare, contains some comment which is not only arresting but revelatory of profound insight. Who knew that an apparently sociological treatise could be so creative, so enthralling, so literate? Crowds and Power is al ...more
But this isn't scientific analysis at all-- it's literature above all else, and should be read in that light. Keep in mind that Canetti was writing in the structuralist heyday of the late '50s and early '60s-- this was a time when Marshall McLuhan was doing his thing with media, and when the ...more
classify it" (15)
"It is only in a crowd that man can become free of this fear of being touched. That is the only situation in which the fear changes into its opposite. The crowd he needs is the dense crowd, in which body is pressed to body; a crowd, too, whose psychical constitution is also dense, or compact, so that he no longer notices who it ...more
Finally through this intellectual thicket ... though I cannot claim to have digested it. This is a dense, magisterial work ... vast erudition is on display, yet somehow worn lightly. His concerns are so human that the abstractions take r ...more
Trivia: Canetti is thought to have been Iris Murdoch's model for The Black Prince.
However, what really turned me off for much of the book was the method. Much of Cane ...more
• how command-giving evolved from a threat of death into a form of bribery; and
• why nation-state crowds rely on distinctive symbols to bind their members together.
Human history is defined by the crowds individuals enter into and the aims they pursue as members of those crowds. From prehistoric hunting packs to mass religions and the modern nation-state, our experience of the world has always been determined by our membership in large groups. The other part ...more
“Everyone belonging to such a crowd carries within him a small traitor who wants to eat, drink, make love, and be left alone.”
He studied in Vienna. Before World War II he moved with his wife Veza to England and stayed there for long time. Since late 1960s he lived in London and Zurich. In late 1980s he started to live in Zurich permanently. He died in 1994 in Zurich.
Author of Auto-da-Fé, Party in the ...more