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‘Conscience adherents’ revisited: Non-LGBT Pride Parade participants

Journal article
Authors Mattias Wahlström
Abby Peterson
Magnus Wennerhag
Published in Mobilization
Volume 23
Issue 1
Pages 83-100
ISSN 1086-671X
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Pages 83-100
Language en
Keywords Conscience adherents, LGBT movements, pride parades, protest participation, social identity,
Subject categories Sociology, Research on Europe


Foundation stones in the resource mobilization theory of social movements are the notions of “conscience adherents” and “conscience constituents,” first introduced by McCarthy and Zald in 1977. In this article, we revisit the concept of conscience adherent, by applying it to individuals and groups that are direct supporters of an LGBT movement, but who do not stand to directly benefit from the success should the movement accomplish its goals. Using quantitative data collected during Pride parades in Stockholm, Haarlem, London, and Warsaw, we analyze the group of participants who reported that they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and compare them to heterosexual and gender-conforming participants, identifying factors that explain why people in the latter category participate in Pride parades. We argue that experiences of discrimination, knowing people from the beneficiary group, and/or subscribing to general principles of justice, contribute to conscience adherent participation. Furthermore, based on interviews with Pride parade organizers, we argue that mobilizations based on a more inclusive political strategy will attract more non-LGBT participants.

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