Призрак толпы / Рецензия на книгу: Borch Ch. The Politics of Crowds: an Alternative History of Sociology. Cambridge University Press, 2012. — 338 p. ISBN 9781107009738
The book “The Politics of Crowds: Alternative History of Sociology” by Christian Borch is devoted to the history of emergence and development of the “semantics” of crowds. Danish sociologist solved two difficult problems. First, he reconstructed broad scientific debate, which revolves around the concepts “crowd” and “mass”. Second, he analyzed socio-political circumstances that has influenced development of this debate. The book reconstructs history of the crowd semantics evolution in France, Germany and the United States and refers to a general analysis of the collective behavior and mass society theories development. Author emphasizes that core ideas of the classical crowds’ semantics such as irrationality, de-individualization, and “abnormality” of mass activity conflict with the liberal program of modernity based on the values of individualism and rationality. Advantages of the reviewed book are a large sample of sources; consideration of various and controversial elements of the crowds’ semantics; original content organization. However, the author leaves unsaid some cases of the “alternative history” – he does not pay attention to contemporary discussion of the crowds in the context of “the rise of crowdsourcing.” Sometimes it is difficult to do distinguish between definition of “mass” or “crowd”, given by particular author and Borch’s interpretations. Nevertheless, this book certainly deserves readers’ attention. It provides a new perspective on the history of the crowd semantics and on a wider context, shows the non-linearity and diversity of history of social thought in XX century.