Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Toivo Miljan

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Donald Ashley

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Rod Preece

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Student activism has become so familiar a feature of Western politics that the silent generation of students in the 1950’s and early 1960’s almost seems an aberrant phenomenon. Because radical students confront social authorities demanding reforms, it is not surprising that many in positions of authority eye student radicals with certain misgivings. An apprehensive attitude therefore exists on both sides. This study of student unrest analyses the relationship between technological innovation and social cleavage in order to trace the development of the differing attitudes and value sets over a period of time. The value dichotomy can be most appropriately illustrated by surveying the literature stating the radicals’ position towards the contemporary university and comparing this to the conservative position. The problem then is to identify the two value systems empirically. A measurement of the belief systems of dissenting youth would find if the belief systems of the older generation differed and discover if more than one value system is represented among student activists.

The scores obtained on Rokeach’s Dogmatism Scale of student activists who participated in a boycott of classes at W.L.U. were compared to the scores of the faculty and administrators and a random sample of the general student population in order to obtain the composition of the groups’ belief systems. A generation gap in values would appear to exist in light of these scores.

Confrontations then, appear to reflect the division in cultural norms that exist between certain alienated youth and those in authority. Until the dominant norms adjust and accommodate the alienated sector, it would seem that modern society can expect further manifestations of generational conflict. This would especially hold true in light of much of the recent literature on student activism which suggests that the contemporary conflict may represent a different type of rebellion than the traditional son versus father situation. It seems that it is difficult to provide the sense of continuity necessary for a stable upbringing when societies are so totally committed to change.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season