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Open Access Dissertation

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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Subject Categories

Social Psychology


Collective action often aims to elicit a response from the broader public. This dissertation presents three distinct but interrelated investigations on the societal outcomes of collective action among both high- and low- status groups in society, grounded in a range of social and political contexts. Chapter 1 provides an integrative literature review that identifies the motivation for the present research. Chapter 2 examined whether and how collective action organized by a social movement can shape the public’s subsequent attitudes toward the movement and its goals, in the context of the electoral reform Bersih movement in Malaysia. Chapter 3 investigated when and how public reactions to movements for social change can promote the rise of reactionary counter-movements to defend the status quo in the context of race relations in Malaysia and the United States. Chapter 4 examines whether distinct modes of ingroup identification and preferences for justice can shape public support for normative and non-normative collective action in the context of the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict. Chapter 5 concludes by discussing the overarching theoretical contributions and applied implications of studying the societal impact of social movements, as well as considering the limitations of the present research and future directions.