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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31907

Title: Democracy by Association: A Comparative Exploration of the Effects of Inequality and the State on Civic Engagement
Authors: Purandaré, Nanda
Advisor: Nedelsky, Jennifer
Kopstein, Jeffrey
Department: Political Science
Keywords: civic engagement
welfare regime
social capital
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: The dominant civic engagement literature has focused on the many positive outcomes that stem from leading an active associational life, linking it to lower crime rates, economic growth and a healthy democracy. However, it has been less effective at recognizing how much of a dependent variable civic engagement actually is, exploring what shapes it and how. Yet, in light of its centrality to the democratic process and the benefits that accrue from strong, active communities, it is important to understand what shapes civic engagement to establish who is in a better position to participate and why. Drawing on personal interviews with single mothers, policy analyses, and World Values and ISSP survey data, this dissertation explores how inequality and the state shape civic engagement. The findings underscore the impact of class- and status-based inequalities on civic engagement, focusing on women as a case study. Women’s dual roles as caregivers in the home and paid workers in the labour market contribute to the gender gap in participation. However, the presence of children is linked to higher levels of participation for women, and parent-, child- and care-related groups are found to build trust, foster a sense of community, and act as a catalyst for civic involvement. The thesis also highlights the extent to which the state structures citizenship and participation, focusing on welfare regimes as case studies. It develops theories that test the effect of interventionism, egalitarianism and statism on the civic engagement levels of welfare regime-types. The findings suggest that while egalitarian policies may help reduce the impact of inequality on civic life, comprehensive social policies alone do not necessarily lead to more active societies. The way political authority is structured can have a deep impact on civic habits, and creating openings and opportunities for citizens to participate can inspire collective action.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31907
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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