It is extremely hazardous to attempt to draw general conclusions about the many diverse disturbances examined in the previous pages. They cover a wide range of issues, illustrate complex motives, and occurred in many different environments. Many, particularly in the eighteenth century, remain tantalisingly obscure, although considerable progress has been made in examining particular areas and forms of activity. First-hand accounts of disturbances are not so common that we can always be definite about the motivation and objectives of the participants. These have often to be inferred from the actions of the people concerned, a particularly treacherous procedure which can lead to misrepresentation of an event in the search for neat categories and clear patterns. Moreover, popular disturbances were, and still are, a highly complex phenomenon. One has only to observe the enormous output of analysis and interpretation about the disturbances in American cities and universities in the 1960s to be aware that there are no simple answers to why they occurred or about their role in larger social and political processes. Many commentators find current examples of collective violence, such as that which occurs in football crowds, difficult to explain, even though we are in a far better position to collect data, interview participants, and observe the events at first hand than we are in the case of a disturbance in a small village in the early eighteenth century. What follows here therefore is not an attempt to provide a grand general theory of the causes and role of popular disturbances, rather the intention is to suggest some of the main lines of thinking and to comment on them in the light of current research and the material discussed in these pages.