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Citizen SpeakThe Democratic Imagination in American Life$
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Andrew J. Perrin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226660790

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226660783.001.0001

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How Do Civic Organizations Mobilize?

How Do Civic Organizations Mobilize?

(p.24) Chapter Two How Do Civic Organizations Mobilize?
Citizen Speak
University of Chicago Press

To begin the search for the democratic imagination, we need to think strategically. Where should we look for citizens who, though they appear to be similar, think and behave differently from one another when it comes to politics? Where, that is, can we find a diverse collection of democratic imaginations to examine and catalog? To assemble groups for political discussions—the central method behind this book—we need some clues about where to find them. This chapter takes stock of what we know about the settings for democratic discourse before we set out in search of the democratic imagination. It offers support for earlier studies suggesting that individual-level education and income are strong predictors of political participation. Involvement in nonpolitical civic organizations, too, makes people more likely to participate in political activity—particularly the active citizenship represented by the measure of difficult political participation.

Keywords:   democratic imagination, citizens, political participation, democratic discourse, civic organizations, citizenship

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