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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New Book: Engaging Young People in Civic Life

Youniss and Levine book coverVanderbilt University Press has published Engaging Young People in Civic Life, edited by James Youniss and by Peter Levine, with a forward by former United States Representative Lee Hamilton.

This book originated in a meeting organized by CIRCLE and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Many of the chapters are informed by CIRCLE-funded research projects. This is CIRCLE’s press release.

In the forward, Hamilton writes, “I can think of no task more important for the future of American democracy than teaching young people about our system of government and encouraging them to get involved in politics and community service. … Engaging Young People in Civic Life is tough-minded, data-driven, and unsentimental. It is full of concrete policy proposals for schools, municipalities, service programs, and political parties. It offers all the appropriate scholarly caveats and qualifications. But at its heart, it is a plea to revive American democracy by offering all our young people the civic opportunities they want and so richly deserve.”

Table of Contents

Foreword - Lee Hamilton

Introduction. Policy for Youth Civic Engagement – Peter Levine and James Youniss

Part I. Youth and Schools

Chapter 1. A “Younger Americans Act”: An Old Idea for a New Era – James Youniss and Peter Levine

Chapter 2. Democracy for Some: The Civic Opportunity Gap in High School – Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh

Chapter 3. Principles That Promote Discussion of Controversial Political Issues – Diana Hess

Part II. Political Environments: Neighborhoods and Cities

Chapter 4. Policies for Civic Engagement Beyond the Schoolyard – James G. Gimpel and Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz

Chapter 5. Civic Participation and Development in Urban Adolescents – Daniel Hart and Ben Kirshner

Chapter 6. City Government As Enabler of Youth Civic Engagement: Policy Design and Implications – Carmen Sirianni and Diana Marginean Schor

Chapter 7. Local Political Parties and Young Voters: Context, Resources, and Policy Innovation – Daniel M. Shea

Part III. Policy Models from Other Nations

Chapter 8. Youth Electoral Participation in Canada and Scandinavia – Henry Milner

Chapter 9. Civic Education in Europe: Perspectives from the Netherlands, Belgium, and France – Marc Hooghe and Ellen Claes

Chapter 10. Strengthening Education for Citizenship and Democracy in the UK – David Kerr and Elizabeth Cleaver

Conclusion. The Way Forward – Peter Levine and James Youniss

48 Responses to “New Book: Engaging Young People in Civic Life”

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    Do you have a link to where i could buy this book? thanks!

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  8. Vanderbilt University Says:

    Thanks for the book reference. I might have to pick it up; I assume you can buy it from the Vanderbilt University bookstore. I am very interested in the influence young voters have over how our government is shaped. Also, I would like to gain an insight as to what motivates young voters to actually go out and cast the ballot.

  9. Free Food Says:

    Well, Hamilton was right. You can’t really have a future for American Democracy, if upcoming voters and politicians don’t understand political issues. But then again, that’s like saying “What’s up, must come down.”

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    This important book tackles head-on one of the major concerns of our day, that too many young people, especially those who don’t attend college, are ill informed about and disengaged from politics.

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  15. Annie Daniel Says:

    It clearly discusses the importance and ways to engage young people in the reality of life. Many actually disregard the fact that our youth is very important to improve our lives.

  16. Matthew Jones Says:

    If we only give opportunity to our Youth today, they can really help us in changing our situation now. Because they really know what they want to achieve in their lives. They are more focus on their goal before anything else.

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    In this way, our youth can change their life practically, situations and problems can be handled easily. We should consider it a big challenge ahead to achieve.

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    In this way, our youth can change their life practically, situations and problems can be handled easily. We should consider it a big challenge ahead to achieve.

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    Engaging young people in civic life is a giant leap in the journey towards the future. They are the future guardian of a nation. If the sense of service for the community and nation can be created in the young minds, they will become responsible citizens and will take vital role in shaping the fate of the nation.

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    It is vital for all democracies to teach youths about civic life, not only in America. They are our future, however scary this may be..

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