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Emancipative Values and Non-Violent Protest: The Importance of ‘Ecological’ Effects


This article examines the impact of values on a key phenomenon of modern politics: non-violent protest. Previous studies have examined only the individual-level effects of values. Studying in addition the ‘ecological’ effects – how the social prevalence of values affects protest – generates new insights. Focusing on ‘emancipative values’, two ecological effects are shown: (1) the prevalence of emancipative values lifts people's protest above the level that their own emancipative values suggest (elevator effect); (2) the prevalence of these values enhances the impact of people's own emancipative values on protest (amplifier effect). We conclude that examining values in models of protest (and possibly of other activities), not only as individual attributes but also as ecological properties, gives ‘culture’ its full weight in explaining behaviour.

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Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel , Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Jay Ulfelder , ‘Contentious Collective Action and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes’, International Political Science Review, 26 (2005), 311334

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Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba , The Civic Culture (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963)

Christian Welzel , ‘How Selfish Are Self-Expression Values? A Civicness Test’, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 41 (2010), 152174

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Amy C. Alexander and Christian Welzel , ‘Measuring Effective Democracy: The Human Empowerment Approach’, Comparative Politics, 43 (2011), 271289

Pamela Paxton , ‘Association Membership and Generalized Trust: A Multilevel Model across 31 Countries’, Social Forces, 86 (2007), 4776

Christian Welzel and Ronald Inglehart , ‘Values, Agency, and Well-Being: A Human Development Model’, Social Indicators Research, 97 (2010), 4363

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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