Participating in public protests: the example of ACTA protests in Estonia
The goal of this research was to test if the Value Expectancy Theory applies to the Estonian case of ACTA protests. It cannot be said that there just aren’t that many protest organized in Estonia for people to participate in and it also cannot be said that Estonians have no history of participating in demonstrations. The singing revolution was in itself a big, peaceful, proactive demonstration that hundreds of thousands of people participated in. Estonia is also a democratic country with democratic rights and the right to protest against something that is perceived harmful to the society is not illegal. The aim was to find out what kind of perceived outcomes and value expectancy determine the participation in a public protest. The year 2012 brought tree good examples of well-attended public protests - ACTA being the biggest and first of those. The empirical data gathered shows that expected value played a role in the decision making process. People who thought the outcome would be positive or very positive and also expected a gain in personal related and goal and democracy related values chose to actively participate in the protest.. On the other hand the people who predicted less gain in personal related and goal and democracy related values decided not to participate. It can be concluded that attendance relies on how much the organizers can make their audience believe that the goal is reachable. Media coverage and Facebook help of course on that path.
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