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Civil unrest as a precursor for collective violence to erupt is analyzed using historic events in France. The theoretical background for collective violence is outlined, along with a discussion of the origin of crowd behavior by Le Bon. By analyzing historic events in a single country, the variable of differing cultural contexts is eliminated. Four cases of events that led to collective violence ranging across time from the late 18th century to the late 20th century are analyzed in detail to determine the causal mechanisms that led the crowds to become violent. A comparison of the cases leads to a reduction and determination of their causal mechanisms, and a brief background of French cultural formation is provided to determine if there are characteristics to France that made these events likely to happen in that context. By applying the ideologies of Articles II and III of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen to the events, it is postulated that French culture is primed for riots or revolts, with future riots being inevitable.



Thesis Comittee

Jodi Cohen (Thesis Director)

Kim MacInnis

Patricia Fanning

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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