Social Justice Research

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 168–190 | Cite as

Theory and Methods of a Representational Approach to Understanding Social Movements: The Role of the EDSA Revolution in a National Psychology of Protest for the Philippines



Three studies used the symbolic theory of history and identity to examine the impact of social representations of the 1986 EDSA I “People Power” revolution on participation in subsequent protest social movements in the Philippines. Study 1 found that in 4 state universities scattered across the archipelago of the Philippines, the first EDSA revolution was nominated as the most important event in Filipino history, and formed part of a narrative moving from authoritarian to democratic rule. Study 2 employed a mixed convenience sample of university students and adults to show that a measure of historical fatalism, or cynicism about the ability of EDSA I to produce lasting social change together with low identification with the social movement predicted lack of passive behavioral participation in the social movement that overthrew President Estrada in the EDSA II revolution. The importance of removing Estrada (derived from an expectancy–value/cost–-benefit analysis formulation) was the best predictor of active behavioral participation. Study 3 showed that historical fatalism was the best predictor of behavioral intentions to actively participate in an attempt to overthrow Estrada’s successor President Arroyo, whereas anger was the best predictor of passive behavioral intentions among university students. Results suggest an exhaustion of goodwill from Filipinos, who no longer believe that People Power can force positive change against endemic corruption in national governance.


Social representations Social identity theory Social movements History Dual pathways model Symbolic theory of history and identity People power EDSA revolution 



The authors wish to thank Cristina Montiel for helpful comments on a previous draft of this article, and Rebekah Goldstein-Hawes for statistical support for Study 1.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Applied Cross Cultural Research, School of PsychologyVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of the Philippines-DilimanDilimanPhilippines

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