2
Roots and Soil of Student Activism

E. WIGHT BAKKE

In the years since the end of World War II there are few countries in the world which have not been subjected to revolutionary changes in parts or the whole of their internal institutional structures and in their relations with other nations. These changes have called into question the appropriateness and effectiveness of traditional guidelines to public and personal problem solving and the traditional allocations of responsibility and authority for performing that function. Inevitably this has opened up temptations and opportunities to participate in that function by groups whose participation was formerly not considered important or even legitimate. Among these groups none has been more prominent and more potentially significant for the present and the future than the students.

Activism by students in the affairs of their universities and of their community and nation beyond the universities is no new phenomenon. It is as old as the universities. But the impact of that activism on public affairs, particularly in the countries undergoing rapid and revolutionary political, economic, and social modernization, reached a new intensity and significance. That has been so evident that it has stimulated a greatly expanded research interest on the part of the scientists whose operational field is individual and organizational behavior.

The objectives of these behavioral scientists have focused on varied aspects of this student activism, and they have usually sought for guidelines to its interpretation suggested by the particular disciplines within which they have received their research training. When I turned my attention to this phenomenon in 1961 it was for two reasons. As a labor, or more

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