Measuring Support For the Political System: A Study of Student Disaffection
Wasner, Guenter H.
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The image of the college student as a radical and militant ready to man the barricades against the established order, has almost become as accepted part of the American mind. Countless protests and demonstrations viewed on the evening news or read in the morning paper, have brought the issue of student dissent to every supper table. Indeed, throughout the last decade, student dissent has emerged as one of the most visible and intensive inputs extended toward the American political system. Whether such inputs aid the successful functioning of the system or threaten it, has been a topic of much discussion among politicians and journalists alike, with the verdict generally being a function of the predictor's political sympathies and little else. Little has been done however, to empirically study both the degree and extent of student disaffection and its potential effect on the behavior and survival of the political system. This study is an attempt at providing some insights into that question. To do so, it will deal with two basic questions. First, we must answer how we in fact go about measuring the degree and extent of student disaffection from the system, and secondly, what thus can we say about its effect on the future behavior and survival of this system. Of course, any attempt to study the full extent of student dissent across the United States would take abilities and resources beyond this writer's. This study will content itself with examining a limited student population, the student body of Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich. Hopefully the measures and indeces developed as well as some of the attitudinal patterns discerned will also provide some insight into the wider population.If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email email@example.com to request access to this SIP.