Close and Apart: On Crowds and Atmospheres

19 Feb 2015
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type
Cloud and the Crowd

Christian Borch
Professor with Special Responsibilities, Copenhagen Business School

This is a Cloud and the Crowd event.  Please also join us for a roundtable discussion with Professor Borch.

Classical crowd theory as developed under the label of crowd psychology in France in the late nineteenth century was severely attacked by social theorists throughout the twentieth century. Especially the notion that crowds embody irrational, de-individualizing forces that pose a threat to civilizational progress was contested by sociologists who argued for the opposite view: that crowds are made up of rational individuals responding to unjust conditions. In this talk I wish to revisit classical crowd theory (especially the work of Gabriel Tarde) and argue that it deserves renewed attention, as it (1) offers a rich and timely analytical repertoire for understanding subjectivity and sociality in a non-individualist manner, and (2) that it can be productively related to recent debates about spheres and atmospheric politics (as analyzed by Peter Sloterdijk). Common to these strands of thinking is the assertion that subjectivity and the social are radically relationally (intersubjectively and atmospherically) constituted – in ways that are both lived and acted upon, as will be demonstrated in the talk with reference to cities and financial markets (from open-outcry trading to high-frequency trading).

Christian Borch is on faculty in the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School. His research focuses on crowds, political sociology, economic sociology, and architecture and urban spaces. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory. His book, The Politics of Crowds: An Alternative History of Sociology, won the American Sociological Association 2014 Best Book Prize. He is also author of a number of other titles, including Foucault, Crime and Power: Problematisations of Crime in the Twentieth Century and Architectural Atmospheres: On the Experience and Politics of Architecture.


This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Anthropology Department • Department of City & Regional Planning • UC Multicampus Working Group on Cloud and Crowd
Department of City & Regional Planning

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