‘To Participate or Not Participate, That’s the Question’: The Role of Moral Obligation and Different Risk Perceptions on Collective Action


  • Mete Sefa Uysal
  • Yasemin Gülsüm Acar
  • Jose-Manuel Sabucedo
  • Huseyin Cakal


The current research investigates whether moral obligation and perceived close vs. distant risks of high vs. moderate risk collective actions are associated with willingness to participate in collective action in the case of Turkey. Two studies were conducted: one with re-placed university students after the July 15, 2016 coup d'état attempt (high-risk context; N₁ = 258) and one with climate strikes (moderate risk context; N₂ = 162). The findings showed that moral obligation predicts collective action in both studies, however, the strength of this relationship is contingent on the level of subjective likelihood of protest risk in the high-risk collective action (Study 1), but not in the moderate-risk collective action (Study 2). Study 2 extended the findings of Study 1 by showing that higher perceived climate crisis risks (e.g., extinction of many species, destroying the vast majority of vital resources; distant risk), but not risks of protest (e.g., being arrested, blacklisted; close risk) predicts higher willingness to participate in collective action. We discussed the role of moral obligation and different risk perceptions (e.g., distant, close, moderate, high) on climate movements and collective action of marginalized groups in repressive political contexts.