Impetus for Engagement
Catalysts to action come in many varied forms — a misguided foreign policy decision, a new tax or the sale of green belt land, for example. The stimulus to engage in a political activity is rooted in the human psyche: at times, it is an incident that alters an individual’s attitude towards action, on other occasions it is a value system that individuals have been taught and believe in. Many experiences can generate political interest — being socialised in a highly political environment, whether it is a home, school, church or war zone, can affect the political outlook of individuals; however, we can also search for concrete patterns of motivation through discussions with individuals regarding the source(s) of their political motivation.1 This chapter explores these sources and the commonalities and differences between the participants, finally recognising the common themes that motivate political engagement. Understanding the roots of political motivation is useful in contextualising the forms of action taken, the popularity of certain political activities and the role that motivation plays in the choice of those political issues that are popular among the respondents.
KeywordsPolitical Activity Political Participation Relative Deprivation Political Behaviour Rational Choice Theory
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