A New Engagement?: Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen

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In searching for answers as to why young people differ vastly from their parents and grandparents when it comes to turning out the vote, A New Engagement challenges the conventional wisdom that today's youth is plagued by a severe case of political apathy. In order to understand the current nature of citizen engagement, it is critical to separate political from civic engagement. Using the results from an original set of surveys and the authors' own primary research, they conclude that while older citizens participate by voting, young people engage by volunteering and being active in their communities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book stands among the best that have ever been written about civic and political engagement in America, and deserves a place on your shelf next to other classics such as Who Votes?, Voice and Equality, and Bowling Alone. It exemplifies model social science—as relevant as it is rigorous."—Political Science Quarterly

"Packed with evidence and insights, A New Engagement captures the changing nature of citizen participation in America. Generational differences underlie that change, which is remaking our civic and political life. This breakthrough study should be read by all-scholars, pundits, politicos, activists, and citizens-who seek a better understanding of tomorrow's America." —Thomas E. Patterson, Harvard University

"Based on an impressive array of evidence, this is the fullest and most important work to date on the social and political engagement of all sorts—or the lack of it—of different age cohorts in contemporary America. It persuasively shows how history, perceptions of government performance, and social, cultural, and economic experiences have shaped and distinguished the social and political outlooks and behavior of different generations of adults in the United States." —Robert Y. Shapiro, Columbia University

"This book is an outstanding study of shifting patterns of civic engagement among successive generations of American citizens. A key finding: generational differences matter, and we should pay more attention to indications of declining political involvement among young adults."—William A. Galston, Saul Stern Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

"Understanding the future of democracy in America requires us to understand how young people are being mobilized into public life. The impressive range of data collected for and presented in this book are unparalleled in scope or quality for their insights into the public involvement of young Americans. This highly original study is indispensable for understanding how Americans under 30 are orienting themselves to civic life." —Scott L. Althaus, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

"This book builds on previous literature to paint an important picture of generational engagement. Further, the nuances of this book's argument are both notable and intriguing. Indeed, this book is an important contribution to our understanding of citizen engagement that undoubtedly will lead to additional research and new hypotheses."—Public Opinion Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195183160
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Cliff Zukin is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He is President of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). Scott Keeter is Director of Survey Research at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. Molly W. Andolina is Assistant Professor of Political Science at DePaul University. Krista Jenkins is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Michael X. Delli Carpini is Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3
2 Coming of age in a post-boomer world 17
3 Engagement in public life 49
4 Through the looking glass : attitudes toward public engagement through a prism of cohorts 89
5 Generational pathways to participation 121
6 Where do young people stand politically? 155
7 Civic engagement, political engagement, and generational change 185
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