Engaging Young People in Civic Life

Engaging Young People in Civic Life


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The myth of generations of disengaged youth has been shattered by increases in youth turnout in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 primaries. Young Americans are responsive to effective outreach efforts, and this collection addresses how to best provide opportunities for enhancing civic learning and forming lasting civic identities.

The thirteen original essays are based on research in schools and in settings beyond the schoolyard where civic life is experienced. One focus is on programs for those schools in poor communities that tend to overlook civic education. Another chapter reports on how two city governments—Hampton, Virginia, and San Francisco—have invited youth to participate on boards and in agencies. A cluster of chapters focuses on the civic education programs in Canada and Western Europe, where, as in the United States, immigration and income inequality raise challenges to civic life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826516510
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Publication date: 08/17/2009
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

James Youniss is James R. and Wylma R. Curtin Professor of Psychology at the Catholic University of America. He has published four previous books on youth civic identity.

Peter Levine is Director of CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University. He is the author of The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens, among other books.

Table of Contents


Foreword - Lee Hamilton

Introduction. Policy for Youth Civic Engagement - Peter Levine and James Youniss

Part I. Youth and Schools

Chapter 1. A "Younger Americans Act": An Old Idea for a New Era - James Youniss and Peter Levine

Chapter 2. Democracy for Some: The Civic Opportunity Gap in High School - Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh

Chapter 3. Principles That Promote Discussion of Controversial Political Issues - Diana Hess

Part II. Political Environments: Neighborhoods and Cities

Chapter 4. Policies for Civic Engagement Beyond the Schoolyard - James G. Gimpel and Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz

Chapter 5. Civic Participation and Development in Urban Adolescents - Daniel Hart and Ben Kirshner

Chapter 6. City Government As Enabler of Youth Civic Engagement: Policy Design and Implications - Carmen Sirianni and Diana Marginean Schor

Chapter 7. Local Political Parties and Young Voters: Context, Resources, and Policy Innovation - Daniel M. Shea

Part III. Policy Models from Other Nations

Chapter 8. Youth Electoral Participation in Canada and Scandinavia - Henry Milner

Chapter 9. Civic Education in Europe: Perspectives from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France - Marc Hooghe and Ellen Claes

Chapter 10. Strengthening Education for Citizenship and Democracy in the UK - David Kerr and Elizabeth Cleaver

Conclusion. The Way Forward - Peter Levine and James Youniss


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