Louis Crocq

Collective Panic Publication date : January 24, 2013

Louis Crocq is a psychiatrist for the French armed forces and a professor of psychology at Paris-V University. Following the bomb attacks in the Paris Métro in 1995, he created France’s victim-support network of medical-psychological emergency units. He is the author of many works including Les Traumatismes psychiques de guerre and 16 Leçons sur le trauma, both published by Editions Odile Jacob.

In an age of crowded public spaces and mass meetings, the risk that any minor incident may cause panic and even lead to mass hysteria has grown significantly. Beyond the morbid curiosity aroused by catastrophes, the author argues that we must understand the phenomenon of group fears and what triggers them, in order to confine and reduce such fears as much as possible.
Such is the aim of this book which begins by defining different types of panic, according to the catastrophes that provoked them. Included here are documented accounts of the 50 greatest catastrophes in history, whether caused by nature (from the destruction of Edition following the eruption of Vesuvius, to the tsunami of 2004, and including the 1755 Lisbon earthquake), by urban accidents (the 1897 Charity Bazaar fire in Paris), by transport accidents (the sinking of the Titanic, in 1912) or technological accidents (Fukushima, 2011).
The second part reveals the common mechanisms that trigger collective panic and is addressed, more specifically, to political leaders and those responsible for public safety — but also to anyone who may have to face such a situation.

• A psychological essay that is also of great historical and sociological interest.
• An authoritative anthology to understand the phenomenon of collective panic.