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The Sunday Times 13.11.2016. Reproduced here with kind permission of The Sunday Times newspaper.


In 1895, the French polymath Gustave Le Bon published his seminal work, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, on the behaviour and danger of crowds. For decades after, Le Bon’s theories influenced generations of politicians and their policies. Le Bon was influential at a time of rapid urbanisation, social upheaval and worker organisation. Social order was under threat and it was feared that “the masses” might break with patriarchy, social order and religion.