Urban youth’s perspectives on flash mobs

Full article citation: Houston, J.B., Seo, H., Taylor Knight, L.A., Kennedy, E.J., Hawthorne, J., and Trask, S.L. (2013). “Urban youth’s perspectives on flash mobs.” Journal of Applied Communication, 41(3), 236-252. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2013.825728.

Abstract: Flash mobs are new, emerging, and evolving social phenomena that have recently been associated with youth violence in U.S. cities. The current study explores how youth understand flash mobs through focus groups conducted in Kansas City, Missouri (a site of violent youth flash mobs). Results indicate that youth have varying familiarity with flash mobs and define them in different ways; that youth perceive youth boredom to be the most frequent cause of problems with flash mobs; that youth connect ongoing social disorder with the violence associated with flash mobs; and that while social media are facilitators of flash mobs, flash mobs have their roots in youth activities that have been going on for generations (e.g., hanging out in groups, cruising).

Keywords: flash mobs, youth, violence, social media, social disorder

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