God save the Queue: how the wait to see the Queen’s coffin transformed people | Stephen Reicher

A week certainly is a long time in monarchy. It was fascinating to see individuals actively changed by this experience

A strange thing has happened since last week, when I wrote about how myself and other social psychologists were studying the crowds of people queueing to watch the ceremonials following the death of Queen Elizabeth – finding out the many reasons and motivations for taking part in this mass event. It seems the Queue itself – and what it supposedly tells us about the state of our nation – has become as big a story as the ceremonies. We stopped watching the pageantry and started watching ourselves watching the pageants.

This was just the start of a series of remarkable transformations. The size and behaviour of the crowds did not simply reflect the pre-existing state of the nation. Rather, through these crowds we saw a transformation in our desire to participate in the events, a transformation of relations between those in the crowd, and transformations in their relationship to the monarch, the monarchy and the state. A week is a long time, it seems, and not only in politics.

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