Drawing upon 60 semi-structured interviews, this study adopts an emotion-centered approach to studying the non-violent phase of Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. We find that, first, the overlapping and mutual amplifying of two successive moral shocks was the primary mechanism of mobilization.
The mobilizing success of the moral shocks is interpreted through introducing the notion of emotional path dependence. Second, the nature of moral shock is explained as a combination of emotional and cognitive components. Third, we find that emotional components of collective identity construction created moral barriers between a brotherhood of virtuous protesters and profoundly immoral antagonists, which, combined with the perceived universality of claims, rendered the bystanders’ position unacceptable