Political Science Education and the Profession

Fostering Civic Agency in an American Government Course

Daniel Mallinson Penn State Harrisburg
,
Laura Cruz Pennsylvania State University

Abstract

Scholars and commentators are increasingly concerned about the erosion of democratic norms in the United States. Political science education stands at the forefront of higher education’s mission to create an educated citizenry, and civic education is linked to outcomes like civic engagement and trust in government. Much of the research on civic education, however, examines how different classroom interventions affect students’ intentions of engaging civically in the future. This study argues that between intention and action lies agency. Specifically, it examines whether an introductory course in American government increases civic agency. A new scenario-based method of measuring civic agency is also introduced. The study finds that civic agency does in fact increase, with students sharpening their calculus of engagement. They better understand where they can best engage and how. Increasing agency lays the foundation for future engagement when students care about an issue enough to weigh in.

Content

Thumbnail image of Civic Manuscript TLC Copy.pdf
cloud_download

Comments

Log in or register with APSA to comment open_in_new
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy open_in_new – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here open_in_new .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy open_in_new and Terms of Service open_in_new apply.