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Emancipative Values and Nonviolent Protest: The Importance of ‘Ecological’ Effects

Christian Welzel
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Franziska Deutsch
Christian Welzel
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Open Panel

Abstract

Our paper applies a new approach to the study of nonviolent protest, examining values not only as an individual-level attribute but also as an ‘ecological’ property of a society’s mental climate. Focusing on emancipative values, we evidence two contextual effects: (1) the prevalence of emancipative values in a society elevates people’s protest activities above the level that these people’s own emancipative values suggest (elevation effect); (2) the prevalence of emancipative values amplifies the individual-level effect of emancipative values on protest activity (amplifier effect). Other contextual factors that have been found to affect nonviolent protest, such as political opportunities and economic resources, show a largely reduced effect under control of emancipative values. We conclude that models of protest activity (and possibly of other activities) should examine values not only as individual attributes but also as ecological properties. Doing so, gives ‘culture’ its full weight in explaining behavior.