Measuring the Relational Aspects of Civic Engagement and Action

Alison K. Cohen, Jason C. Fitzgerald


Civic leaders who are highly and effectively engaged often have strong relationships with key stakeholders across institutions and communities. The prevalence and nature of these relationships is not known among those with more typical levels of civic engagement. Via survey data of a random sample of residents of two neighboring French towns, we find that people perceive their neighbors to be, on average, more engaged than they perceive to be themselves, and that few individuals can provide specific action steps for how they would tackle social issues in their community. These results suggest that teaching civic action skills, including how to identify key decision makers as possible allies, is important for civic educators.


civic action, civic education, civic engagement

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