Watts :the natural history of an evolutionary process


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Purpose: In 1950 Rex Hopper postulated a sequential development of social movements which he called the natural history of an evolutionary process. This technique has been utilized by many different sociologists in their acquisition of knowledge concerning social movements. The purpose of this thesis is to test Hopper's hypothesis using the Watt's incident as case material. After an extensive review and analysis of the political, economic, and social conditions prior, during, and after the Watt's incident, the goal is to determine if there is some relationship between that riot and Rex Hopper's four sequential steps of the social process. These four stages are: (1) the Preliminary State of Mass (Individual) Excitement, (2) the Popular Stage of Crowd (Collective) Excitement and Unrest, (3) the Formal Stage of Formulation of Issues and Formation of Publics, and (4) the Institutional Stage of Legalization and Societal Organization. Methods: My study will be restricted to books, journal articles, periodicals, and newspapers. This study will focus on the social events in the Watt's area from the latter fifties up to the present time. Findings: After the completion of this study, I found that the Watt's incident moved into the incipient development of the third stage of Hopper's hypothesis and did not reflect any traits of the fourth and final stage of a revolutionary movement.



Watts Riot, Los Angeles, Calif., 1965., Revolutions., African Americans--California--Los Angeles.