The Citizenship in America Survey will vary from other broad public opinion studies in its dovetailed emphasis on two, converging trends: increasing demographic diversity in the United States and changing technology. The project will will explore how increasing racial and ethnic diversity shapes citizens’ own sense of their ability to shape politics. And, at the same time, it will pursue a deeper understanding of how social media and other technology-enabled forms of interconnection are viewed as forums for political action. Do individuals perceive posting political opinions, online activitism, or Twitter-based debate as a meaningful form of citizenship, or instead as social activities that, at most, may complement or undercut traditional political activity. And does technology-facilitated advocacy have increased power for groups that may find formal citizenship tools, such as voting, less accessible or effective?
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Contact: Shana GadarianWith support from the Maxwell School Dean’s Office and donors to the Tenth Decade Fund, the Citizenship in America Survey plans to conduct annual surveys, with oversampling of black and Latino respondents, that question:
- whether citizens feel fully and fairly served by their governments;
- whether they feel equipped to engage government meaningfully; and
- whether they see activity on Facebook or Twitter (on topics such as BlackLivesMatter) as meaningful civic engagement or merely “slacktivism” or “clicktivism.
During the project’s first year, members of the team will research and develop survey methods while seeking additional financial support for the implementation of initial surveys, which they expect to implement beginning in the second year.