Social relations in crowds: recognition, validation and solidarity

Nick Hopkins, Stephen Reicher, Clifford Stevenson, Kavita Pandey, Shail Shankar, Shruti Tewari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Social identity research on crowds demonstrates how cognitive self-definition as a crowd member results in conformity to identity-relevant norms. Rather less research has addressed the social-relational changes within a crowd and how these impact collective experience positively. The present study investigates these processes at a month-long mass gathering in India. Analysis of 37 interviews with participants attending the annual Magh Mela pilgrimage evidences the concept of shared identity as underpinning their understanding of this mass gathering. Moreover, a theoretically derived thematic analysis of these interviews shows the value of the analytic concepts of recognition, validation, and solidarity in illuminating the ways in which social relations in the crowd were experienced and contributed to the experience of the event. Through exploring the multi-dimensional nature of relational connectedness in crowds we contribute to an understanding of crowd experience and group processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
VolumeEarly View
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2019


  • Social identity
  • Mass gatherings
  • Crowds
  • Relational transformation
  • Collective experience
  • Pilgrimage


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