Faculty Publications

Title

Community activists' perceptions of citizenship roles in an urban community: A case study of attitudes that affect community engagemen

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Urban Affairs

Volume

29

Issue

4

First Page

401

Last Page

424

Abstract

This article addresses the linkages and barriers between civic participation and political participation in urban communities, through a qualitative case study of the attitudes of community activists in a small urban community. Robert Putnam's theoretical model of civic and political involvement suggests a strong linkage between civic engagement and political engagement, while Nina Eliasoph's model suggests substantial barriers between participation in the local civic realm and participation in the local political realm. These competing models are given a preliminary test utilizing in depth interviews with a cross section of persons who are actively involved in the civic and/or the political realms. The data confirm Putnam's assertion of the strong linkage between the two, but they suggest that the two arenas are viewed as distinct by activists and that the rewards derived from civic engagement are quite different from those of political engagement. The analysis also suggests that community activists have strongly negative views of those who do not participate and that their suggestions for involving others have limited utility. This barrier may be the strongest of all in preventing both civic and political engagement in the urban community. © 2007 Urban Affairs Association.

Original Publication Date

10-1-2007

DOI of published version

10.1111/j.1467-9906.2007.00353.x

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