This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Threat-Motivated Mobilization of Collegiate Social Movement Organizations: The 2016 Presidential Election




Alexander, Saxon

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work


The social movement process, a key component of the democratic political system, has been studied in countless permutations. Threat, such as a controversial new President, powerfully motivates activists to mobilize in defense of their privileges and resources, yet this relationship is seldom considered. An impact over time, threat is best observed through a longitudinal study, which reveals patterns of movement mobilization. An event history was created from the issues of 20 student newspapers between 2016-2017, resulting in 332 social movement events. Analysis through Cox regression identified predictive factors of event occurrence. Event issue was the most predictive factor for both liberal and conservative groups, although conservative events seldom occurred. This informed how threat directs liberals to triage activism, when activists operate under the stipulations of prioritizing the most threatened cause, mediated by their individual perspective. For conservative activists, sparse data suggested alternative social change pathways and tactical adaptation.