Understanding Angry Groups

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Their Motivations and Effects on Society

by Susan C. Cloninger and Steven A. Leibo, Editors
With the assistance of Mohammad Amjad


Angry groups—motivated by religious or ethnic strife or by injustices stemming from socioeconomic injustice—are continuing to disrupt society and exacerbate volatile situations. Can such anger can be redirected in a positive manner?

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Cover image for Understanding Angry Groups

January 2017


Pages 434
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/Social
  Security Studies/Conflict

This book examines the dynamics that lead to anger in individuals, within groups, and between groups; identifies the role of the media in angry group behavior; and offers solutions for dealing with angry groups and channeling that negative energy in positive ways.

In today's society, we see angry groups in many forms—from animal rights and climate crisis activists to citizens opposed to allowing more immigrants of certain ethnicities or religions into the country, militia groups frustrated by acts of domestic terrorism and legislation that limits gun ownership and the ability to carry weapons in public, and those outraged by what they see as police brutality or the unnecessary use of deadly force against people of color.

More than just evidence of civil unrest in society, angry groups across history and nations often ultimately affect our politics and our government, for better or worse, and sometimes result in injury, bloodshed, or financial costs that hit otherwise-uninvolved taxpayers. This book demonstrates how people across our nation are involved in, affected by, or harmed by angry groups; covers historical and modern perspectives on angry groups; ands offers suggestions for predicting and influencing the expression of angry group behavior. It provides readers with an understanding of such conflicts and of their origins and dynamics that may offer insights to successful resolution, and it identifies strategies that can reduce the suffering that comes from such conflicts.


  • Presents angry group dynamics from various perspectives, ranging from individual personality to group behavior to mass social movements
  • Draws expertise from diverse academic areas and presents information that will be accessible to anyone interested in history and the social and political sciences
  • Connects with current societal and political issues that often receive attention in the news and popular media
Author Info

Susan C. Cloninger, PhD, is professor emerita of psychology at The Sage Colleges, Troy and Albany, NY, where she taught for 36 years before retiring. She is author of Theories of Personality: Understanding Persons. Her interests include applying psychological theories to the understanding of biography, the concept of the self, and other themes of personality-social psychology. She serves the mentally ill, formerly homeless population as a volunteer.

Steven A. Leibo, PhD, is professor of international history and politics at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY, and associate in research at Harvard University. A former Fulbright Scholar, Leibo is the author of numerous books, including the annual text East & Southeast Asia in the World Today series, Transferring Technology to China: Prosper Giquel and the Self-strengthening Movement, and the historical novel Tienkuo: The Heavenly Kingdom. He also serves as an international affairs commentator for WAMC Northeast Public Radio and holds the Sherman David Spector Chair in the Humanities at Russell Sage College.



"This book does an excellent job of combining insights from neuroscience, sociology, history, and political science to explain the phenomena of past and current group behavior and philosophy both nationally and globally. VERDICT Although this quality work has a scholarly bent and would most appeal to undergraduates, general readers will also be well served by the ­timeliness of this thought-provoking material."Library Journal

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