A Regression Equation Doth Not a Theory Make

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(1), 20–21. Reviews the book, Protest and Political Consciousness by Alan Marsh (see record 1979-08360-000). Marsh begins with the “deferential citizen” problem in British politics. Following this, however, he presents a battery of historical data indicating a fairly high degree of protest activity and extra-institutional politics. However, two things gnaw away at this argument. The first is the absence of a comparative perspective that raises the question of whether Britain is a particularly activist nation. The second reservation stems from the author's failure to pursue an interesting finding from the survey. The book becomes much more interesting and sure-footed when Marsh addresses the forms of consciousness underlying protest orientation. One is left with the uneasy feeling that political protest is a much more subtle and interesting phenomenon in the flesh than it appeared in the skeletal form of survey responses to standard behavioral scales. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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