Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Robert M. Dimit


The purpose of this study is to investigate the possibility and appropriateness of employing a multi-disciplinary approach in the study of urban insurrections in an effort to construct a typology which would include all of the elements common to each disorder. The multi-disciplinary method is necessitated by the biases which are inherent in any analysis that is restricted to either a psychological, sociological, or politico-historical treatment of episodes of collective behavior. All of the disciplines make major contributions to any analysis, but it is the contention of this writer that the disciplines must be integrated before the most accurate depiction is possible. Another potential contribution of this dissertation is the offering of an integrated multi-disciplinary theoretical body of information to bridge the hiatus which appears to exist between theories of episodic collective behavior and theories of social movements. Urban insurrections have characteristics of both of these phenomena, yet they also have a uniqueness about them which is not revealed adequately by an interpretation from the existing terminals of theoretical explanation. The dissertation proposes a hypothetical typology (as defined by Howard Becker and John C. McKinney) based upon a theoretical framework composed of the contributions of theorists in psychology, sociology, and political science. The typology was subjected to empirical testing by a comparison to the narratives of three major race riots which occurred during the last decade. The narrative data offered supporting evidence to each of the stages of the typology. The sequential stages of an urban insurrection that were supported include: 1. A Discrepancy Between the Real and Ideal Cultures 2. The Identification of Underlying, Causative Factors 3. The Precipitating Incident 4. The Rioting Stage 5. The Reaction of Control Agencies 6. The Return of Normality

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sociology, Urban
Urban renewal



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University

Included in

Sociology Commons