This paper explores the experience of international camp counselors at an American summer camp in the North East United States. It set out to understand the impact the summer camp environment might have on an individual’s cultural identity. Personal interviews were conducted with ten current or former adult camp counselors from six countries outside of the United States. The research question was framed in the theories of intersubjectivity, habitus and acculturation strategy as well as the relevant body of empirical research. The research found that the culturally intense experience of camp led to an individual’s cultural identity to be the product of active and strategic micro-adjustments and adaptations—in short, ‘doing’ identity.
This thesis uses the Occupy Wall Street movement as a case study to analyze how individuals decide to take part in social movements. Moving away from rational utility models, it applies a emotion-based model of decision-making that better explains collective action participation. Interviews with individual activists provided information about their incentives, which were then compared with results from the social psychology research on behavior in group contexts. The results mirrored this literature, and showed that when deciding to act, individuals calculate a broad range of incentives, many of which are entirely non-material. As they come to identify with a movement, these incentives are consciously and subconsciously altered to favor participation. Simultaneously, collective identification comes to guide decisions to participate. Recognition of the specific incentives relevant in social movement contexts should facilitate understanding of movement dynamics for academics and movement organizers alike.