Department of Sociology
Category-Spanning Protest: Participation and Public Opinion
Some protests occur with clear claims, goals, and identities, whereas others combine multiple (and sometimes dissimilar) claims, goals, and identities. Which type of protest event leads more potential activists to join the rally? Single-issue protests may only attract those who believe in that particular cause, but do so with a direct one-to-one match. Multi-issue protests increase the pool of potential activists, but dilute their claims and identities. This project tests competing theories of “category-spanning” protest on people’s willingness to attend rallies. Finally, this projects also gauges the effect of bridging multiple constituencies in this manner on public attitudes. Does the public (and especially ideologues) view this as necessary compromise and consensus-building or a sign of disorganized and uncommitted confusion? The results from this project will clarify strategic decisions for how activists ought to protest.