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The Power of Crowds

Sun 9 August

In this podcast, The Guardian’s Dan Hancox tracks a 13,000-year history of congregation that suggests the power of crowds is hard to resist.

When we first shared this podcast from The Guardian journalist Dan Hancox, in August 2020, Melbourne was a month into its second lockdown of the pandemic. With the city under curfew, shops shuttered and public gatherings heavily restricted, we decided to examine what was missing—mass gatherings.

In the podcast, Hancox suggests that historically crowds are sometimes dangerous, but resilient and hard to disperse, too. He recounts the emotion he felt hearing Scottish soccer fans singing in unison and how he misses festivals like the Notting Hill Carnival. Nonetheless, Hancox says that a history of congregation, stretching back to 13,000-year-old, “conga line” cave paintings, will inevitably return.

Milad Hajizade, Getty Images, EyeEm

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