, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 253-283

Participation and political protest: A causal model with Australian evidence

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This paper examines a model of political participation and political protest that includes the several well-established modes of orthodox participation as well as a number of dimensions of political protest, and also takes account of the causal order between conventional participation and protest. The analysis indicates that previous findings demonstrating a substantial positive association between unidimensional measures of conventional and unconventional political behavior are incomplete and indeed somewhat misleading. The connection between orthodox participation and protest weakens as the style of protest becomes more unorthodox, to such an extent that none of the separate modes of conventional participation are directly related to “radical” protest. Using sheaf coefficients, the paper also tests the relative explanatory power of three sets of determinants of participation and protest: social background characteristics, general orientations toward politics, and attitudes toward issues. Issues are repeatedly weaker than the other two groups of variables in predicting conventional participation but have relatively strong effects on political protest, particularly compared with political orientations, while social structure is consistently influential.