Initial and Shifting Engagement
This chapter examines trajectories of political participation by focusing on who initially participates. It analyzes the roots of individual participation in social movements and looks at predictors of initial engagement in contentious political activity. Three broad types of factors are considered: ideology (religiosity, strength of partisanship, party identification, and efficacy), biographical availability (age, marital status, child rearing, and working), and resources (income, education, and political knowledge). To determine how these factors influence contentious political engagement, the chapter draws on the Jennings and Stoker panel data for testing competing theories of activism. Using two main panel regression models, a random effects and a fixed effects model, it demonstrates that ideological factors indeed predispose certain individuals to become active in contentious politics, but only those who are biographically available are able to translate this disposition into action over time.
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