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Explaining the Political and Personal Consequences of Protest

Darren E. Sherkat and T. Jean Blocker
Social Forces
Vol. 75, No. 3 (Mar., 1997), pp. 1049-1070
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580530
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580530
Page Count: 22
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Explaining the Political and Personal Consequences of Protest
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Abstract

We examine the consequences of social movement participation for late 1960s and early 1970s activists, most of whom participated in the antiwar, student, and civil rights protests. After providing an explanatory framework for understanding how social movement participation might have continuing influence across a number of social realms, we test whether run-of-the-mill participation in the antiwar and student protests of the late 1960s had an impact. Using data from the Youth-Parent Socialization Panel Study, we show how demonstrators differed from nonactivists in two time periods: shortly after their movement experiences in 1973; and when they were in their mid-thirties in 1982. Controlling for the factors that predict becoming a protester, we explore the influence of activism on: (1) politics; (2) status attainment; (3) religion; and (4) family. We find that controlling for factors that predict protest participation, these typical activists are significantly different from their nonactivist counterparts. Specifically, former protesters hold more liberal political orientations and are more aligned with liberal parties and actions; select occupations in the "new class"; are more educated; hold less traditional religious orientations and are less attached to religious organizations; marry later; and are less likely to have children.

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