The social theories and constructs claim that human beings are involved in a constant process of interaction and interpretation that form the basis for their actions and reactions to events (Nooy, 2009). The Vancouver Hockey Riot 2011, illustrates an excellent case study for analyzing the impacts of social problems and community unrest on group behavior and reactions to incidents taking place around them. In 2010, the Vancouver Hockey team won gold in the Winter Olympics and the streets of Vancouver were laced with people celebrating the victory. The scene was totally opposite in the year 2011 when thousands of individuals turned violent and the city witnessed violence in reaction to the loss of Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup hockey tournament (CTV, 2011). The mob burnt cars and engaged in other forms of crime that included looting of shops, destroying property, and assaulting the policemen (CTV, 2011). The actions reflect the anger and humiliation of facing loss in the game. However, the event sparked off debates on the reasons behind this violent attack and analysis of various perspectives that explain human behavior in groups. Thesis Statement In light of Goffman and Blumer's theoretical insights, this paper will explore the organization and behaviours of individuals participating within the 2011 Vancouver hockey riots while analyzing the principles of collective behaviours, social cohesion, social construction and social positions. The paper will explore the behavior and organization of individuals engaged in the Vancouver Hockey riots 2011 based on the analysis of different social constructs and theoretical perspectives that explain the principles of collective behavior and social cohesion. The subsequent paragraphs provide an insight into mob behavior and community interaction theories that will help in analyzing the course of events and factors leading to the violent behavior of the mob in Vancouver. Theoretical perspectives related to symbolic interactionism 1 Herbert Blumer (1969) came up with the term “symbolic interactionism.” According to the symbolic interaction theory, a family consists of interacting personalities. This theory highlights the manner in which people through symbols. These symbols can take the part of words, gestures, rules and roles. Symbolic interactionism views individuals as free to interpret the meaning of the interaction that they witness, which allows for variation in responses to action and events. Herbert Blumer in his book (1969) introduced the primary concepts in symbolic interactionism as – 2 1. ‘Human beings act toward things on the basis of meanings which these things have for them.’ 3 2. ‘The meaning of a thing for a person grows out of the ways in which other persons act toward the person with regard to the thing.’ 4 3. ‘The use of meanings by the actor occurs through a process of interpretation’ (p2). Several studies by social scientists have concluded that the workings of the human brain and people’s actions and behavior are based on instincts. Social scientists were of the view that people’s conduct and behavior with respect to taking care of their children; not being open to change, and seeking new and exciting experiences were based on maternal, conservative, or novelty-seeking instincts. Human behavior and the way people conduct themselves in greatly influenced by their social surroundings. This influence of the society on human behavior takes place in various forms, degrees and over the period
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