Two Necessary Ingredient: Role of Emotions and Efficacy in Social Movement Participation in Hungary

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:25
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Pal SUSANSZKY, MTA-ELTE Peripato Comparative Social Dynamics Research Group, Hungary
Marton GERO, ELTE, Hungary
Akos KOPPER, ELTE, Hungary
Gergely TOTH, MTA-ELTE Peripato Comparative Social Dynamics Research Group, Hungary
Emotions are able to foster participation in social movements and demonstrations, however they could decrease the propensity for participation as well. One could argue that certain emotions towards politics as commitment, anger, enthusiasm might lead to participation, while others, as disappointment or fear would withhold people from participation.

However, emotions predict participatory behaviour only if we also consider people’s attitudes towards efficacy of demonstrations. Thus, any strong emotion might be a sign of a psychological commitment towards public issues. The question is, in what condition this commitment leads to political engagement or alienation. In our paper we argue, that confidence in efficacy of a given form of political participation is a necessary condition to channel emotions into political participation.

In this study, we focus on the relation of emotions and participation in protest events and based on the argument above we hypothesize that any type of strong emotion could be channelled into participation in protest events if one thinks that this form of political participation is effective, while the same emotions might block people from participation when they do not believe in the efficacy of demonstrations. In the same time, without strong emotions towards politics, the belief that demonstrations are effective forms of participation also does not lead to participation. Thus we detect mechanisms foster or imped participation in public rallies, taking account the role of efficacy.

We scrutinize the role of emotions in mobilization through a survey conducted in 2014 among the Hungarian adult population, their participation in certain protest events and their emotions toward politics.