Examining the mob mentality


Two mob-related incidents made headlines in Perth, Western Australia in the last couple of months.

The first saw a group of 20 people attack a city convenience store, where a mob mentality ensued. Numerous other people decided to join the fray causing a young shop attendant to suffer injuries after being beaten by some of the mob and have his store robbed and trashed.

The second incident came weeks later as a group of teens threw rocks at buses near Cockburn causing $10,000 damage.

But these aren’t isolated incidents and like many others they involved large numbers of young people.

Australia was shaken by the racially-motivated mob attacks in they Sydney suburb of Cronulla in late 2005 which saw large numbers of youths from Anglo-Celtic and Lebanese origin clash on a number of occasions.

More than 5000 individuals gathered at North Cronulla Beach where mob violence ensued. The end result saw 26 people injured, a total of 16 arrests and 42 charges being laid including assaulting police officers, affray, malicious damage, resisting arrest, offensive behaviour and other charges.

In 2011 England was rocked by riots which lasted nearly a week, resulting in five deaths, arson, looting, assaults and other offences.

Similarly in Cologne, the German nation was shaken after New Years Eve celebrations turned ugly when more than 1000 men were accused of assaulting 90 women, including accusations of sexual and physical assault and robbery.

Police forces around the world have warned the public that the penalties for such behaviour can attract several charges resulting in potential jail terms. So what drives a group of people to risk everything to become involved in mob violence?

According to Professor Rob White from the School of Sociology at the University of Tasmania group violence is defined as “swarming” and falls into several categories. The categories include Raves, Flash Mobs, Youth Gangs, Riots, Mobs and Gatecrashes and all of those events can be organised or spontaneous.

“What seems to characterise most of these group formations is the availability of ‘smart mob’ technologies that allow grouping and regrouping to occur, and the ability to gather quickly at a meeting place,” Professor White says…Click HERE to find out more about this article