Dynamics of individual participation : surveying Italian protestors
Title: Dynamics of individual participation : surveying Italian protestors
Citation: Journal of civil society, 2014, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 373-392
ISSN: 1744-8697; 1744-8689
This article investigates the factors that explain differential individual involvement in political demonstrations. Though the question of who actually participates in (protest) politics is by no means new, the authors build here upon existing literature in social movement studies in order to test some of the existing hypotheses. Reviewing existing research on individual participation in contentious politics, four theoretical arguments used to explain participation differentials were highlighted: the socio-biographical argument pointing to either social centrality or biographical availability; the collective identity process based on the interaction between norms, values, and actions; the network integration argument; and the argument that emotions are in the driver's seat. The article proposes an original analysis based on surveys carried out during nine demonstrations that occurred in Italy between 2011 and 2013 on a variety of issues, some directly related to the economic crisis and the consequent austerity policies, others mainly addressing new social movements claims. Looking at the participation in demonstrations of 1624 protestors, we conclude that social centrality and collective identity formation have higher explanatory power in examining degrees of participation in protest.
Published online: 12 December 2014
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