[sixties-l] Most college protesters are well adjusted, socially active

From: radtimes (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 23:09:27 EDT

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    Most college protesters are well adjusted, socially active

    Public release date: 20-Aug-2001

    Contact: Paul Blaum pab15@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

    Anaheim, Calif. -- Rather than being misfits, college protesters are more
    likely to be socially active on campus and enjoy a wide circle of friends
    and acquaintances, a Penn State researcher says.

    These same peer networks seem to have a more profound influence on student
    activism than political ideology or any deep dissatisfaction with the
    prevailing government, says Dr. Byeong Chul (Ben) Park, assistant professor
    of human development and family studies at Penn State's DuBois Campus.

    "We found a strong relationship between levels of extracurricular
    involvement and student activism," he told attendees today (Aug. 19) of the
    annual conference of the American Sociological Association. "It seems that
    those students who had adjusted well to college life through engagement in
    campus activities were more likely to participate in protest movements than
    those who had not."

    This profile of student activists is in contrast to a perception held by
    much of the public that protesters are loners and rebels alienated from the
    mainstream of college students, according to Park.

    Park's findings were presented in the paper, "When Children Protest on the
    Street: Generation Units and Youth Activism." His data are taken from 1,111
    self-administered questionnaires collected at 10 Korean universities in 1993
    by the East-West Cultural Study Center at Hannam University, Taejon, Korea.
    "Each new generation brings to college its own frame of reference, which
    promotes common political attitudes and beliefs different from those of
    preceding generations. This collective mindset appears to be a factor in
    motivating student political activism," says Park. "The fact that each new
    cohort of student has its own interpretation of socio-political issues often
    leads to dissatisfaction with the government or administration in power."

    However, those students who protest are those who are active in the
    institutional life of the college and well established in the student
    community. A wide communication network among student peers help to mold
    their political leanings and create a group solidarity that allows them to
    make their voices heard, he adds. Even students with no particular
    ideological bent or sense of disgruntlement with the government can become
    politicized by active involvement in on-campus rallies and demonstrations.
    "This seems to indicate that students join protest movements largely because
    of peer group expectations rather than political learning at home," Park

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