From apathy to social activism

Inquiry 18 (2):213 – 223 (1975)
The study of social change has neglected the dynamics motivating individuals to join mass movements. Particularly obscure is how apathetic people are transformed into social activists. Considering this problem the author suggests three stages of development through which the individual progresses in attaining a higher level of personal and social maturity. The first stage - dreaming -emerges when the individual aspires to change while wishing to avoid the risks involved. The second - the illusion of power - occurs when the hunger for power and the fear of it are mediated. The third - real power - is promoted by the yearning for self-respect and social acceptance and is manifested by competence in gaining supremacy and actual experience in struggle. As a consequence of this process the individual advances from a subjective self-image to perceiving himself as a social being; society is humanized by the greater participation of individuals
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DOI 10.1080/00201747508601761
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