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Engaged or Disengaged: Young People's Conceptions of Volunteerism

Engaged or Disengaged: Young People's Conceptions of Volunteerism

The civic disengagement of youth has been a notable concern for policy makers and academics in Canada and around the world. In fact, today’s young people have been often described as the “civic deficit” generation, resulting in calls for new programs in civic education and engagement. But according to Ottilia Chareka, Ph.D., assistant professor at St. Francis Xavier University and a specialist in citizenship education, many of these new programs have been implemented with little or no prior research on young people’s conceptions of participation. In this article for e-Volunteerism, Chareka presents the results of a relatively small but unique study, one that looks at how native-born Canadian and recent African immigrant youth perceive volunteerism. The results may surprise the skeptics. As Chareka reveals, these youth understand volunteerism as a duty, an ability to make a difference, a way of achieving personal gain and gratification - but as a decidedly non-political process.

To read the full article

Mon, 08/16/2010

Submitted 25 August 2009, Anonymously
I feel that this article contained a lot of assumptions and conjecture given the very limited number of subjects surveyed.  I don't find this type of writing worth the time it took to read more or less the time it took to write.  Please post "research" that has a better cross-section of participants.

Response from Publishing Editor Susan Ellis
Thank you for your comment. Ottilia Chareka explained that this article was excerpted from a larger study on citizenship and that she used the “phenomenographic research approach for data collection” (explained in footnote 2).   This focuses more on intensive interviews with subjects than on extensive data surveying.  At any rate, we felt that the article offered rarely-voiced perspectives:  both African-Canadian youth and questions about perception of volunteering in relation to other forms of civic participation.  It was in the spirit of adding to discussion that we felt this article would interest our readers.