Civic engagement or civic participation has been defined as "Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern." Civic engagement has many elements, but in its most basic sense it is about decision making, or governance and about who and how and by whom a community's resources will be allocated. The principle of civic engagement underscores the most basic principle of democratic governance, i.e. that sovereignty resides ultimately in the people- in the citizenry. Civic engagement is about the right of the people to define the public good, determine the policies by which they will seek the good, and reform or replace institutions that do not serve that good.
Civic engagement can take many forms — from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solve a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy.
Another way of describing this concept is the sense of personal responsibility individuals should feel to uphold their obligations, as part of any community.
"Youth civic engagement" has identical aims, only with consideration for youth voice.
||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (September 2012)|
Civic engagement would mean :
- providing right of way to public utilities over your property
- cleaning up after your dog on its walks on streets and not peeing in public swimming pools
- rushing to the aid of victims of accidents and street-crime and testifying as a witness later in court. Being the eyes and the ears of your neighbourhood/ work place
- returning books borrowed from public libraries in time (people may be eagerly awaiting them) and without vandalising or marking on them, and while there, observing silence
- staying at home if down with flu and reporting contagious illnesses or pestilence to public-health authorities. Not overdosing or underdosing antibiotics (germs develop resistance to them later on)
- turning taps or switching lights off, when not in use (water or power saved can be used by many)
- articulating complaints or enquiries well (in person, on the phone, or in writing), keeping them to the point, coming in with all the paperwork, complete beforehand (persons in-charge have to attend to everyone and are hard pressed for time)
- reading newspapers (online news portals give many other points of view of the same news), keeping current with issues on the TV (rather than watching soaps or sitcoms), watching films which ‘enrich’ – not mindless entertainment
- taking humanities/social science courses, and heading for the section on them in a library, or sites about them on the internet.
- voting in or standing for elections, and keeping a tab on the past and present track record of those elected
- filing right to/freedom of information applications to keep a tab on goings on
- paying taxes and investing capital in one's own community or country
- stocking up only as much as would be needed during shortages (other families may be in desperate need)
- not overdrawing from wells, overgrazing or overfishing (nature has enough for everyone's needs but not for anyone's greed)
- offering rides to hitchhikers
- buying war-bonds or donating money or unexpired medicine to relief-funds in times of need
- pursuing instances of injustice by protesting these before authorities, the media or courts of law (setting a precedent stops others falling victim to the same injustice)
- not jumping queues, whether in person or when applying for public favours (imagine if everyone starts doing the same!)
- not forgetting to flush after use in public washrooms
- volunteering for military duty and for public services (e.g.: life-saving drills, teaching others by transferring skills to them, sharing expertise by say, answering questions posted by the internet-community)
- choosing entrepreneurship over employment (being employed gives you a single job, being an entrepreneur generates jobs for many in your community, increasing national wealth as a bonus)
- getting trained and licensed before engaging in a job involving safety of life or property
- remembering to donate blood from time to time to stave off shortages at 'blood banks'
- avoiding double-parking on streets
- avoiding rushing in at the last minute, hogging the time of the staff, just when they are about to close for the day (they have a home to go to)
- gathering all waste (especially plastic) on outings to parks or waterfronts
- notifying marriages, births and deaths
- answering public survey questionnaires
- reporting a treasure, antiquity or minerals (like oil) radiation (ionising and non-ionising) discovered on your property or sunken treasure off a coast
- keeping mobile phones on the silent during movies, plays or concerts and avoid arriving after they have commenced
- stocking up small change sufficient to avoid getting them in exchange for higher currency notes(bills) and offering them to the needy
- reusing, repairing or recycling things to postpone having to buy new ones (the earth has only so much of raw materials and even lesser of landfills to dump discarded stuff)
- spending time with the elderly (milestones of the past may well chart out paths to the future), offering them or parents carrying infants a seat, and helping them with their luggage
- broaching civic issues of common interest with people around – and not engaging in mindless gossip
- seeing the ‘bigger picture’ when engaging with or organising people for a social cause – identifying issues which would affect the maximum number of people, letting go of some personal gains in the short run. There is always the strength in unity against external forces and pressures while getting things done
A study published by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University, divided civic engagement into 3 categories: civic, electoral, and political voice.
|Measures of civic engagement|
|Community problem solving||Regular voting||Contacting officials|
|Regular volunteering for a non-electoral organization||Persuading others to vote||Contacting the print media|
|Active membership in a group or association||Displaying buttons, signs, stickers||Contacting the broadcast media|
|Participation in fund-raising run/walk/ride||Campaign contributions||Protesting|
|Other fund-raising for charity||Volunteering for candidate or political organizations||Email petitions|
See also 
- Community building
- Community development
- Civic courage
- Civic virtue
- Civil society
- Social capital
- Social engagement
- Youth empowerment
- "Civic engagement", American Psychological Association. Retrieved 24 Aug 2012.
- Korten,Globalizing Civil Society, 1998, p:30
- Template:Ekman, Joakim & Amnå, Erik (2012). Political participation and civic engagement: towards a new typology. ''Human Affairs'', vol 22, no 3, pp. 283-300.
- Mabbot, Nick. "Harm Minimisation for Victims of Road Trauma". ARRB Transport Research Ltd., WA, USA. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- Template:Ekman, Joakim & Amnå, Erik (2012). Political participation and civic engagement: towards a new typology.''Human Affairs'', vol 22, no 3, pp. 283-300.
- "Ten commandments for changing the world". Vancouver Community Network. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- "Organizing around Hot Issues". Vancouver Community Network. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- Keeter, Scott; Cliff Zukin, Molly Andolina, Krista Jenkins (2002-09-19). "The civic and political health of a nation: a generational portrait" (PDF). Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. Retrieved 2012-07-05.[page needed]
- Collective Agency
- Merrimack College Center for Engaged Democracy
- The Citizen's Handbook
- Community University Engagement
- Center for Civic Engagement at University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
- Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Tufts University
- Civic engagement through City Wikis and Civic Wikis. - PortlandWiki's City Wiki page.
- Northumberland Civic Engagement
- Civic Engagement Center at Central Washington University
- WHYY Civic Engagement Project
- Penn Project for Civic Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
- The Center for Future Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- The Do Good Gauge is a research proposal encouraging civic engagement. The website attempts to facilitate public authorship in pursuit of civic virtue.
- Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.
- Student Voices a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
- Model for Community Change Jacksonville Community Council Inc (JCCI), Jacksonville, FL]