Civic Engagement in America: Will the 2008 Election Matter?

Theda Skocpol, a Harvard professor and scholar of civic engagement, will speak at a free public event hosted by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance in Minneapolis next Monday from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Below is a description of her talk. Read full event details.

Pundits and social observers have voiced alarm as fewer and fewer Americans involve themselves in voluntary groups and participatory democracy. Most of the nonprofit groups launched in recent decades are run by professionals who lobby Congress or deliver social services to clients. These professionally managed agencies have displaced membership groups, leaving regular Americans with fewer opportunities to interact across class lines and to get involved in community and public affairs. America’s struggle to rebound from today’s financial crises will require not only a turnaround of our economy but also a recovery for our civic life. In the wake of the 2008 election and the innovative Obama campaign, what are the prospects for a sustained revitalization of our civic democracy?

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs