The Phenomenon of Protest Activity: A Subjective-Existential Interpretation
Introduction. The paper (a) presents the principles of the subjective-existential approach, (b) overviews its theoretical and methodological models, and (c) describes the phenomenology of protest activity. The subjective-existential approach focuses on value foundations of personal being, and also the way the individual resolves contradictions in the spaces of his/her life. Protest activity deconstructs micro- and macro-society in accordance with personal self-determination. Value-meaning positioning and existential self-determination are key characteristics of the protest activity system. The study introduces (a) a structural dialectical model of protest, and (b) typology of protest forms. These protest forms are modes of being, resulting from individual subject activity.
Methods. The empirical study of value-meaning positioning in destructive protest forms (n = 2600; M = 21.3 years) employed the Protest Activity Questionnaire which included the following scales: emancipation, negativism, opposition, escapism, and nihilism. The test was valid, reliable (Cronbach’s alpha (α) ranged from 0.63 to 0.81), and structured. Confirmatory Factor Analysis Model was as follows: CMIN/DF = 1,084; IFI = 0,987; CFI = 0,989; RMSEA = 0,013. The study employed factor and correlation analysis.
Results. A value-meaning contradiction in the destructive forms of protest (opposition, nihilism, escapism, and negativism) consisted in the respondents’ desire to express their personality by choosing socially unapproved forms of subjective positioning. Individuals with non-constructive forms of protest did not accept the uncertainty of the external and inner world and refused existential self-determination. Deformation and devaluation of spiritual values were characteristic for destructive forms of protest.
Discussion. Personal contradictions depend on the problem of alienation, self-identification, and also inability to form and maintain an authentic being in individuals with non-constructive forms of protest. When accumulating, these contradictions become insuperable and cause destructive protest. Addressing the causes of the person’s destructive activity – creating conditions for successful adolescent and adult socialization – is important.
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