Protesting youth: Collective and connective action participation compared

Jacquelien van Stekelenburg*, Bert Klandermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


"Twitter protests" and "Facebook revolutions" imbue the coverage of contentious politics in news media and academic outlets alike. As long as such protests are not compared to conventional mobilized events it is hard to ascertain the supposed differences between connective and collective action. We report a study that does just that: we examine if it makes a difference whether people are recruited through self-organized rather than organization-centered routes. We surveyed participants and nonparticipants in both actions (N = 319), asking who participated in the respective action, how they were mobilized, and why they participated. Results reveal that in some ways the recruitment route does make a difference, while in others it doesn't. Recruits of connective action were lower educated, felt politically efficacious, and mainly mobilized via informal (virtual) mobilizing channels, while recruits of collective action were highly educated, politically interested, and mainly mobilized via formal mobilizing channels. Social embeddedness played a crucial role in both campaigns, but more so in self-organized actions: approving networks increase the chances of being asked, influenced, and motivated by significant others, while disapproving milieus decrease the chance of being asked, influenced, and motivated by others. Approving networks thus expand informal mobilization, the more so for self-organized connective action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-346
Number of pages11
JournalZeitschrift fur Psychologie / Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Connective versus collective action
  • Political participation
  • Public demonstrations
  • Social media

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Protesting youth: Collective and connective action participation compared'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this