Promoting or Opposing Social Change

Political Orientations, Moral Convictions and Protest Intentions


  • Stefano Passini


The issue of the motivations behind the decision as to whether or not to join protest actions has been investigated by many scholars. In particular, recent studies have considered violations of one’s own moral convictions and identification with the protest group as the main predictors of collective actions. The present research will focus on the three orientations to the political system identified by Kelman and Hamilton (1989), which consider distinct reasons behind the attachment to the political system and explain the motivations behind supporting or opposing the institutions. The aim is to examine whether these three orientations have an effect on collective action (through moral convictions, politicized identification, anger, and efficacy) considering social protests both against and in favor of the status quo. Specifically, the political orientations should explain why individuals hold a given attitude (positive or negative) towards a policy position, hold it with moral conviction, and decide to join a protest action. The results of three studies confirm the relevance of considering political orientations. Depending on the aim of the protest, each political orientation has a distinct effect on collective action.