Neil Smelser’s Foundational Theory of Collective Behavior Adds Marx’s Extensive New Introduction

This golden anniversary edition of THEORY OF COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR is a modern republication of a sociological and social psychology classic. Adding a reflective new Preface by the author and an extensive, analytical Foreword by MIT’s Gary Marx, it is an authorized and quality edition — not just scanned and forgotten like most such reprints today. As part of the Classics of the Social Sciences, it features quality formatting such as linked footnotes, legible and linked tables, active contents, and an extensive bibliography (including updating references for the new Foreword). Moreover, the original page numbers are embedded into the text (in both paperback and ebook formats) for continuity of citations, syllabus, and referencing.

As Gary Marx notes in his Foreword, “The book is elegant, original, carefully crafted and forcefully argued. In its totality, it is a fine example of an effort to define a field, identify major types and systematically connect central variables. This is done to organize an amorphous collection of behaviors that seem to be intuitively linked, but which had not previously enjoyed an equivalent framework for identifying those links. Smelser’s innovative treatment of the form known as the craze nicely illustrates this. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of economic history and applying stages of the value-added process, he shows commonalities across areas previously seen as distinct — such as economic swings, expressive crowds and fads and fashion — and offers a systematic way to differentiate these from other forms. The sense of craftsmanship and the care in construction can serve as a model for theorizing and for the effort to both acknowledge and yet reduce the indeterminacy of social phenomena.”

Marx concludes, “As 2011 events such as the Tsunami in Japan and the unexpected uprisings in the Middle East suggest, the importance of the field and the need to advance knowledge is not just historical. This book remains a rich contribution toward that advancement.”

Available in quality paperback edition. It is sold at the general Amazon site; at our eStore with fulfillment by Amazon; at BooksAMillion; and at other leading booksellers, including Ingram and YBP Library Services. 

Hardcover edition available also at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, etc.; plus Ingram catalog, YBP, and Baker & Taylor.  Contact us, as well, for bulk sales and classroom adoptions.

Available also as an affordable new ebook:

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Available at Smashwords in multiple ebook formats, active PDF, plain text, ePUB, and online viewing. Look for it, too, at Kobobooks.  The UK Kindle store has the ebook here.

About the Author:

Neil J. Smelser earned degrees from Harvard and Oxford, as well as his PhD from Harvard in 1958. Most of his academic career has been spent in Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is University Professor Emeritus. He has served as director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Dr. Smelser has been recognized by election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Association, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has served as President of the American Sociological Association. And in 2002 he received the first Mattei Dogan Award from the International Sociological Association, for a distinguished career in sociology.


ISBN 9781610271028 (hbk), list $56.99
ISBN 9781610270847 (pbk), list $35.99

ePUB ISBN 9781610270854, $9.99
Kindle ISBN 9781610270861, $9.99

Cover image copyright by Jerome E. Carlin, used by permission. See all his paintings at Author photo copyright by Al Weber, used by permission.