Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Human Ecological Review, Volume 6, p.81- (1999)
We present a theory of the basis of support for a social movement. Three types of support (citizenship actions, policy support and acceptance, and personal-sphere behaviors that accord with movement principles) are empirically distinct from each other and from committed activism. Drawing on theoretical work on values and norm-activation processes, we propose a value-belief-norm (VBN) theory of movement support. Individuals who accept a movements basic values, believe that valued objects are threatened, and believe that their actions can help restore those values experience an obligation (personal norm) for pro-movement action that creates a predisposition to provide support; the particular type of support that results is dependent on the individuals capabilities and constraints. Data from a national survey of 420 respondents suggest that the VBN theory, when compared with other prevalent theories, offers the best available account of support for the environmental movement.