The Participation and Recruitment Challenge

David Michael Ryfe and Brittany Stalsburg

in Democracy in Motion

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199899265
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980147 | DOI:
The Participation and Recruitment Challenge

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This chapter reviews literature bearing on the question of who participates in deliberative civic engagement initiatives. Research to date suggests that although significant variation exists among different kinds of civic and political engagement, an underlying logic shapes all forms of public participation: participation goes up when, from the perspective of the individual, its material and symbolic costs are lowered, and/or its benefits are increased. Moreover, a vast amount of research shows that the costs and benefits of participation are generally skewed in favor of those with higher socio-economic status (SES) and education levels. While other factors, such as membership in civic and political organizations and various social networks, can mitigate the impacts of SES and education, it is clear that unless practitioners take corrective measures, participation of all varieties will be skewed. To assist practitioners in such efforts, the chapter reviews several recruitment strategies that may enable the assembly of a broad and diverse group of participants in deliberative civic engagement events.

Keywords: deliberation; participation; recruitment; civic engagement; social capital; political capital

Chapter.  6970 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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