Citizenship and civic engagement

Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, John R. Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

224 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


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