Friday, November 20, 2015

Are we happier when we protest? Connections between collective action and subjective wellbeing

We have all witnessed how demonstrations and peaceful protests can bring about positive social change. We have seen how mobilization that started from social networks can bring down dictatorships, how LBTQI groups and their supporters have paved the way for legislative changes across the world and gain access to legal marriage and adoption, or how feminist activists can significantly influence politics surrounding reproductive health rights by organizing social protests. And I guess that many people around the world, myself included, feel happy and proud about such efforts (and associated victories) to create more inclusive and respectful societies. Still, what do we know about the effects of social protest on our wellbeing? Are we happier or sadder when we take to the streets with other people asking to be heard and demanding change? What are the consequences that mobilizing for collective action has in our lives?