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The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior

The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior (Anomaly Books, 2009)

with British Historian Hilary Evans. Foreword by Ben Aguirre, Professor of Sociology, University of Delaware (784 pages, 90 illustrations). 

An authoritative guide to the history of collective behaviour and social movements spanning more than two millennia, encompassing fads, crazes and manias, social delusions, scares, panics, riots and ‘cults.’  This massive collection of extraordinary behaviors attempts to place many episodes within their historical and cultural context.  This book can be used to teach collective behavior, deviance, social and perceptual psychology, sociology, history, folklore, religious studies, political science, social anthropology, gender studies, critical thinking, and mental health.


Reviews of The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior

"Evans and Bartholomew explore unusual social movements and what seem otherwise inexplicable outbreaks of collective behaviors. The result is a work of immense erudition and scholarship but also a thumping good read.
- Simon Wessely, Chair and Head of the Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London

"An extraordinary compilation... spread over many countries on all continents, encompassing a time span of centuries. It is, without any doubt, the most ambitious undertaking of its sort, with entries ranging from the Children's Crusades to the Chilean Martian Panic, from Cyber Ghost Scares to the Popish Plot...an excellent resource for library references as well as for college-level teachers of collective behavior.”      
- Benigno Aguirre, Professor of Sociology, University of Delaware

“...an absorbing and authoritative read and an extremely valuable reference for anyone interested in the field of psychosomatic medicine.”
- Keith Petrie, Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, writing in Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2010, p. 215.

"I was incredibly impressed. A remarkable and surprising collection of social behaviours... Both compelling and complete...an Aladdin's cave of social curiosities drawn from rigorous research. I can't think of any book that is a more complete guide to the oddities of human social history."
- Vaughan Bell, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Universidad de Antioquia

Outbreak! is a treasure trove for cultural psychiatrists who, I think it fair to say, have more than a passing fancy for epidemics of people who make animal noises (Amou, 1613; Blachthorn, 1700; Hoorn, 1673; Nimes, 1638; Saint Medard Convulsionaries, 1730s; Kentucky Revivalists, 1900; the Russian Klikoushestvo and Maliovanny sects in 1861 and the 1880s), or for the Doukhobors who made naked pilgrimages in Saskatchewan in the manner of Adam and Eve, or for Images That Move, Weep, and Bleed.

The book contains a phenomenal 2880 citations, a great many of which are original sources but also include Raymond Prince, Wolfgang Jilek, Wen-Shing Tseng, and Arthur Kleinman. These references alone are worth the price of the book and cannot be found in any other single source. The writing is exceptionally clear and jargon free but hardly simplistic, and the illustrations are an added bonus. The encyclopedia goes beyond being a mere catalog because the authors attempt to understand why, using Richard Shweder’s term, people can be ‘‘nonrational.’’ It’s a terrific reference book and I heartily recommend it.
- Amando Favazza M.D., Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Missouri-Columbia, writing in Transcultural Psychiatry

…collects hundreds of panics, manias and scares from the "Abdera Outbreak of Prose and Poetry" of 300 B.C.,where folks in ancient Greece recovering from the flu suddenly started screaming lines from plays ceaselessly, to the "Zoot Suit Riots" in 1940's Southern California, where mobs beat up Mexican-Americans fueled by bogus news reports of gangsterism among young men wearing the shoulder-padded zoot suits.

The classic work on outbursts of unlikely behavior remains Charles Mackay's Memoirs of Extraordinary Delusions, published in 1841, which helped popularize accounts of financial speculations such as the "Tulip Mania" that supposedly swept Holland from 1634 to 1637. Outbreak! brings such accounts up to date, noting how Brown University economist Peter Garber has shown the tulip mania, for example, was "a meaningless winter drinking game" played up by later financial writers, who mistook it for a genuine financial craze.

Instead of mocking each incident, Evans and Bartholomew, describe the social circumstances surrounding each one…
- Dan Vergano, Science Editor, USA Today

The scope and diversity of the bibliography are remarkable... The large choice of nineteenth century French studies, mostly medical, of visions and apparitions is especially notable. Original sources are often referred to, and the quotations of Renaissance or seventeenth century books are numerous. This does not exclude modern references as will be shown in the example from Iraq.

This Encyclopedia is not a simple juxtaposition of oddities but presents theories and analyses... With the interest presented by the bibliography, there is in this book a real information source for the social sciences. For, as indicated by the authors: “In bringing these narratives together in a single volume, we are […] making a significant contribution to our understanding of why people behave in these extraordinary ways. For though each of these events possesses its own individual interest, they acquire additional meaning by juxtaposition and comparison: patterns emerge, similarities are revealed, enabling the identification of common factors that make possible a more complete and more fully rounded understanding”.
-Véronique Campion-Vincent, Paris, France, Maison des Sciences de L'Homme

…looks set to become the definitive reference work of our age on bizarre collective delusions and mass hysteria.
- Chris French, Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London

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