AuthorVan Dyke, Nella
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCollege students have historically played a prominent role in many movements and uprisings around the world. However, student protest has received little attention from social scientists. In this dissertation, I examine several questions regarding the factors which influence levels of student protest activity over time, including how political opportunities influence levels of protest, the factors influencing tactic selection, and the dynamics of inter-movement influence and movement overlap. I explore these questions using a dataset of over 2800 protest events which occurred between 1930 and 1990. In Chapter 2, I explore the influence of political elites on levels of student protest. Using event history methods, I demonstrate that elite antagonists within the executive branch lead to increased levels of protest, while elite allies within the legislative branch lead to increased protest activity. These findings suggest that political opportunity theorists need more nuanced conceptualizations of elites, and we need to pay more attention to the mobilizing potential of threat. In Chapter 3, I examine the effect of political opportunities and levels of organization on the protest. tactics used by students. Using event history methods, I demonstrate that elite antagonists lead to an increase in the use of confrontational tactics, including demonstrations and sit-ins. Allies within the legislature lead to an increase in the use of conventional tactics, including petitions and resolutions. Organizational involvement leads to an increase in the use of both types of tactics. These findings suggest a number of scope conditions regarding institutionalization and the effects of organizational involvement on protest tactics. Inter-movement influence and the dynamics of movement overlap are the topic of the fourth chapter. I explore whether diffusion processes lead to a positive intermovement influence, or whether processes of competition lead to a negative influence. I also explore the extent to which different social movements overlap, and the conditions which facilitate such overlap. Using time series poisson regression, I find evidence for both competition and diffusion theories of inter-movement influence. I use historic data to demonstrate that the presence of a common elite antagonist, multi-issue organizations, and issues which cross movement boundaries facilitate social movement overlap.
Degree ProgramGraduate College