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Civic engagement and associationalism : the impact of group membership scope versus intensity of participation

Alexander, Damon Timothy, Barraket, Jo, Lewis, Jenny, & Considine, Mark (2012) Civic engagement and associationalism : the impact of group membership scope versus intensity of participation. European Sociological Review, 28(1), pp. 43-58.

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Abstract

The relationship between participation in civic and political activities and membership of voluntary associations is now well established. What is less clear is the relative impacts of how much time people spend on group activities (associational intensity), and the number and type of groups that individuals are involved with (associational scope). Does it matter in terms of civic engagement, for example, whether one is a member of a quilting-circle or trade union? Does it matter whether association ‘membership’ is simply an annual payment or a major commitment of time and energy? In this article, we use a large survey to explore these questions empirically by focusing on the membership patterns and civic engagement practices of 4,001 citizens drawn from eight suburbs across Greater Melbourne, Australia. Our findings indicate that, while associational intensity is positively related to civic engagement, associational scope (the number of group memberships per person), is a more influential determinant of the level of civic and political participation. The results also suggest that while all forms of associationalism are important in terms of fostering greater levels of civic activity, not all forms have the same impact.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 38960
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Civic engagement, Social capital, Associationalism
DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcq047
ISSN: 0266-7215
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLITICAL SCIENCE (160600) > Citizenship (160602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology not elsewhere classified (160899)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Deposited On: 02 Dec 2010 11:45
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2013 14:45

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