Active citizenship : an empirical investigation

Onyx, Jenny, Kenny, Sue and Brown, Kevin 2012, Active citizenship : an empirical investigation, Social policy and society, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 55-66, doi: 10.1017/S1474746411000406.

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Title Active citizenship : an empirical investigation
Author(s) Onyx, Jenny
Kenny, Sue
Brown, Kevin
Journal name Social policy and society
Volume number 11
Issue number 1
Start page 55
End page 66
Total pages 12
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Place of publication Cambridge, England
Publication date 2012-01
ISSN 1474-7464
Keyword(s) Active citizenship
third sector organisations
social engagement
Summary This paper reports on a study of what active citizenship means from the perspective of citizens who are active within third sector organisations. It is based on an empirical study involving 1,610 respondents across 11 towns in six countries. The study explored how active citizenship is manifested, by gathering data on attitudes towards social changes and the forms and practices of active citizenship. There are two major, and apparently contradictory themes emerging in the data. The first theme provides a portrait of active engagement, proactively, and sometimes oppositionally working for a better world. On the other hand, citizens by and large avoid active oppositional engagement in the political process. They prefer to work collaboratively with government and to work at the local level. This second theme can be understood as social maintenance, support for existing structures that facilitates community cohesion, while providing relief for the disadvantaged, oftenwith a conservative charity orwelfare orientation. Following thework of Touraine, the study revealed how citizens act at the local rather than the national level, and focus on concrete issues and interpersonal relations rather than political action aimed at wider policy change. While this form of citizenship action can reflect a conservative form of maintenance, it is equally a creative new form of association and mutual support.
Language eng
DOI 10.1017/S1474746411000406
Field of Research 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Cambridge University Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Faculty of Arts and Education
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