Early sociologists tended to analyze collective behavior as irrational. The acting crowds focused on a specific purpose may be disruptive, destructive and violent. Especially, a mop or a riot can be fueled by very strong emotions in conjunction with destructive behavior. However, history shows that ordinary people have been able to effect social change, gain power by acting collectively.
Les Miserables “Do You Hear the People Sing”
People may engage in collective behavior when they find that their problems are not being solved through official channels. The structural factors, a breakdown in social control mechanisms and a feeling of anomie plus some stimulus may produce collective response by a relatively large number of people in the particular time. The collective behavior may pose a threat to established power, as the problem appears to grow worse, and organizational responses become more defensive and obscure.
From the position of individual participant, would you regard participation in riot as necessarily highly irrational?