CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
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Working Paper 26: Civic Engagement and the Canvass

by Dana R. Fisher

January 2005graph

“First, the study explores what sections of the population are drawn to participate in political and service-oriented work such as the summer canvass, focusing on who canvasses and why. This section also discusses how these young people became involved in the canvass and briefly describes the work. Second, we present a framework for understanding the perspectives of different canvassers, breaking them down into four categories: Go-getters, Centrists, Disaffecteds, and Vanguards. In this section, we also discuss the key themes that emerged from the qualitative interviews. In short, we find that the canvass attracts politically knowledgeable and left-leaning young people who tend to feel that they can make a difference but do not know how. By looking at the canvassers political identities and how they perceive the politics of the canvass, we gain a better understanding of who stays at this job and why.”

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