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Sociology: Events


How Protesting Depends on Peers: U.S. Students in the 1960s

How Protesting Depends on Peers: U.S. Students in the 1960s
Speaker: Professor Michael Biggs # University of Oxford; Hosted by: Sociology # University of Edinburgh
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Date and Time
22nd Mar 2017 11:00 - 22nd Mar 2017 12:00
1st floor practice suite (CMB 1.12)

There is an extensive literature on how individual voters are influenced by the actions and attitudes of others in their social network or geographical area. Comparable analyses of social movements are lacking. This paper uses a panel of 23,000 students in 169 American colleges, who were surveyed on entry in 1967 and 1968 and again in 1970. Freshmen were asked to estimate their own chance of protesting, and this response is aggregated at the college level to measure social influence. It markedly increased the probability of a student protesting during college, controlling for two dozen characteristics of the individual and the institution. This effect is plausibly attributed to social interaction within college, rather than selection into certain colleges by individuals already inclined to protest. Students protested, in part, because their peers did. Although most variation among colleges can be explained by the characteristics of entering freshmen, initial differences were amplified by social influence.

Signs on building