• 'Defending the rights'. An integrated model of collective action for "public water" in Italy
  • Mazzoni, Davide


  • M-PSI/05 Psicologia sociale


  • In many communities, supplying water for the people is a huge task and the fact that this essential service can be carried out by the private sector respecting the right to water, is a debated issue. This dissertation investigates the mechanisms through which a 'perceived rights violation' - which represents a specific form of perceived injustice which derives from the violation of absolute moral principles – can promote collective action. Indeed, literature on morality and collective action suggests that even if many people apparently sustain high moral principles (like human rights), only a minority decides to act in order to defend them. Taking advantage of the political situation in Italy, and the recent mobilization for "public water" we hypothesized that, because of its "sacred value", the perceived violation of the right to water facilitates identification with the social movement and activism. Through five studies adopting qualitative and quantitative methods, we confirmed our hypotheses demonstrating that the perceived violation of the right to water can sustain activism and it can influence vote intentions at the referendum for 'public water'. This path to collective action coexists with other 'classical' predictors of collective action, like instrumental factors (personal advantages, efficacy beliefs) and anger. The perceived rights violation can derive both from personal values (i.e. universalism) and external factors (i.e. a mobilization campaign). Furthermore, we demonstrated that it is possible to enhance the perceived violation of the right to water and anger through a specifically designed communication campaign. The final chapter summarizes the main findings and discusses the results, suggesting some innovative line of research for collective action literature.


  • 2012-03-09


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Mazzoni, Davide (2012) 'Defending the rights'. An integrated model of collective action for "public water" in Italy, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Psicologia sociale, dello sviluppo e delle organizzazioni , 24 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/4340.