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SOC101Y1 (985)

Political Sociology

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Bob Andersen

Saharzaboliutorontoca thrd26 of January 3 class Goals of Todays Class 1 Civic participationWhy study civic participation and voluntary associationsPutnams thesis about declining social capitalCritique of Putnam including comparative research using time diary dataSkocpols thesis on professionalization of VAs2 Review of next weeks test Why study participation in VasCivic involvementincluding vas considered crucial foe the health of democracy o Maintain democratic values o Protects civil liberties o Helps meet needs of disadvantaged groupsConcern that participation has declined in recent decadesAccurate understanding of trends in VA involvement is thus importantResearch gives contradictory results however Voluntary Associations over Time Robert Putnam and his criticsMost research on USA only relying on General Social Survey GSS o Differences in conclusions have resulted from differences in methodsMost influential is Putnam o Argues that VA participation in US has declined o Sees this as part of a decline in social capital and civic participation generallyPaxton 1999 on the other hand argues that participation has been relatively stableOthers suggest that participation decreased for a period but then increased Patterns of Stability possible theoretical explanations 1 Economic development and modernizationSocial differentiation esp Occupational specialization and related increases in education and incomePromotes status distinction around which voluntary interest groups formGreater resources affluence time training allow for the pursuit of community group activity 2 Stable democratic norms and institutions promote association formation and citizen participationOnly major events with widespread co0nsqeuences for the population are likely to influence the rate of voluntary activity
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