Explaining differential protest participation: novices, returners, repeaters and stalwarts

Saunders, Clare, Grasso, Maria, Olcese, Cristiana, Rainsford, Emily and Rootes, Christopher (2012) Explaining differential protest participation: novices, returners, repeaters and stalwarts. Mobilization


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Scholarly work on protest participation has tended to focus on the special characteristics of first-timers and the highly committed, underplaying the significance of those in between. In this article, we fill a lacuna in the literature by refocusing attention on four different types of protesters – novices, returners, repeaters and stalwarts. We test whether these four types of protesters are differentiated by biographical/structural availability and/or psychological/attitudinal engagement. We employ data from protest surveys of six May Day and four climate change demonstrations that took place in seven European countries (2009-2010). Our results suggest that biographic availability distinguishes our four groups, but not straightforwardly as a matter of degree. Few indicators of structural availability distinguish between the groups of protesters, and emotional factors do not distinguish between them at all. Whilst some political engagement factors distinguish between the groups as a matter of degree, others suggest similarity between novices and returners. This confirms the need to avoid treating protesters as a homogenous group and reinforces the importance of assessing the contributions of diverse factors to sustaining ‘protest politics’.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1086-671X (print)
Keywords: protest, climate change, may day, biographic availability, structural availability, political engagement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations
ePrint ID: 338011
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
2012In press
Date Deposited: 10 May 2012 09:33
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:27
Caught in the Act of Protest: The Distinct Contribution of the Creative Faction
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (PTA-026-27-2706)
1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/338011

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