Citizenship and civic engagement

Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, John R. Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

164 Scopus citations


Is it possible for people to join their way to good citizenship? Contemporary thinking, both academic and popular, often leaves the impression that it is, but a careful investigation of the evidence raises serious doubts. In actuality, belonging to voluntary associations is a woefully inadequate foundation for good citizenship for three primary reasons: People join groups that are homogeneous, not heterogeneous; civic participation does not lead to, and may turn people away from, political participation; and not all groups promote democratic values. Good citizens need to learn that democracy is messy, inefficient, and conflict-ridden. Voluntary associations do not teach these lessons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-249
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
StatePublished - 2005


  • Civic participation
  • Group heterogeneity
  • Political participation
  • Social capital
  • Voluntary associations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Citizenship and civic engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this