It was produced following the third in a series of special seminars entitled 'Engaging Citizens', organised by the ESRC in collaboration with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Among other things, it explores whether being involved in community activities and volunteering can lead individuals to take part in decision-making in state institutions and public services.
The booklet summarises views from experts in the field, including two who spoke at the seminar - John Annette, Professor of Citizenship and Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck, University of London, and Dr Stella Creasy, Head of Research at Involve, the not-for-profit organisation dedicated to understanding and promoting better civic participation.
Despite growing opportunities for participation through increased ‘empowerment’ in both national and local government, research suggests that people feel increasingly disconnected from the public realm. This is seen in falling turnout and reduced trust in political structures and elected representatives.
Professor Annette points to New Labour’s programme for the modernisation of local government, and its neighbourhood renewal strategies, as providing the opportunity for people to get involved in local government and regeneration partnership boards.
He says: “This is part of a shift from local government to local governance, and such activities provide rich opportunities for non-formal lifelong learning for active citizenship.”
But he warns that research, including his own, highlights the need for capacity building programmes for active citizenship and community leadership, and recognises the importance of the political context within which these activities take place.
“Such non-formal community based learning would benefit from being informed by the theory and practice of experiential learning as developed in the USA, and now growing internationally,” he says.
Dr Creasy, discussing her findings from a snapshot of attitudes in a North-East London community, concludes that rather than there being a relationship between social forms of activism and getting involved at the civic level, the reverse may be true for today’s Britons.“Our research found that while a large degree of informal social networking and activism created substantial ‘social capital’ for residents, there was no automatic relationship between this and their engagement with the public realm.
“Rather, motivation appeared to be down to residents’ perception that their locality was neglected by public service providers. So they needed to work together to overcome the difficulties posed by the negative impact of these services and the local authority,” she observes.
Dr Creasy argues for a shift in priorities in local and national governance, away from creating pathways to participation through structural reforms to its mechanisms, towards securing institutional cultures which can support community engagement and empowerment.
Annika Howard | alfa
New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences