Am James. The problem at hand includes the importance of civic engagement in democratic societies. The issue is a primary concern in any democratic society and represents practices and attitudes that involve the political and social life of individuals. Any person would wish to live under a government or a community that respects human rights, acknowledges the worth and dignity of an individual, observes the rule of law, people fulfill their responsibilities willingly, and the concern for all is the common good. Both action-oriented and intellectual involvements create political and social bonds in a community. Through engaging oneself in the activities and issues affecting the society, one becomes an integral part of that community and thus enhancing civic judgment. Through civic engagement, people learn on ways to be responsive in making policies and achieving democratic values in addition to increasing the social capital. However, the current problem is that, in most cases, people tend to push their interests in a democratic community, and thus, contributing to the disintegration of communal life.
The first two decades of the twentieth century marked the beginning of the civic engagement, and since then, its public awareness has continued to grow slowly but steadily. During inception, the concept of civic education was centered on establishing model citizens who are entrenched in both spiritual and religious thinking (Forestiere, 2015). The First World War changed the original thought of citizenship, and few social upheavals and unrests were infrequently inexperienced (Forestiere, 2015). The goals of life evolved with time resulting in changes in the development and growth of civic education into an issue of ethical character and citizenship. The great depression in 1930 also influenced the view of civic engagement with the social problems experienced during the years causing the need for an improved social and political order (Richey, 2011). Notably, in the last two decades, civic engagement has been associated with by the increasing interest in finding the place of man in society.
Civic education activities can assume many forms including and not limited to efforts by the community members to engage each other, individual volunteerism, government works, and organizational involvement. Engagements such as addressing personal issues through private practice, institutions that are a representative of democracy, and using community-based efforts promote civic education (GILOTH, 2018). A study conducted by Tustfs University through its center for research and civic learning, political voice, electoral, and civic were the main categories of civic engagement (Harwood, 2014). Many young scholars have engaged each other online to seek for different interpretations of civic engagement (Harwood, 2014). Researchers have suggested that the civic life of people in a community have been reduced to small portions of electoral behavior and thus not seeking to experience the full spectrum of civic engagement.
The solution to reduced civic engagement in democratic societies is to allocate more resources and time which are the constraints that make the issue a daunting task. Modern societies should be discouraged to pull individuals in different and conflicting directions, and structures such as community meetings, dialogic forums, and political and social institutions should be put in place to enhance civic engagement. Also, research should be performed to elaborate the concept of civic engagement further and establish its coincident indicators. One should focus on motivating citizens to be part of conversations that enhance public and civic policy. Both old and new mediums of communication such as television and social media should be used to create public awareness of how civic engagement is crucial in democratic societies.
Forestiere, C. (2015). Promoting Civic Agency Through Civic-Engagement Activities: A Guide for Instructors New to Civic-Engagement Pedagogy. Journal Of Political Science Education, 11(4), 455-471. doi: 10.1080/15512169.2015.1066684
GILOTH, R. (2018). Philanthropy and Community Engagement. National Civic Review, 107(2), 26-36. doi: 10.1002/ncr.21361
Harwood, R. (2014). Finding the right path: Public agencies and civic engagement. National Civic Review, 93(4), 74-76. doi: 10.1002/ncr.75
Richey, S. (2011). Civic Engagement and Patriotism. Social Science Quarterly, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2011.00803.x