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Youth Civic Engagement Promise and Peril
Youth civic engagement promise and peril

Recent interest in youth civic engagement (YCE) parallels the growing attention being paid to social capital (Putnam, 2000; Putnam & Feldstein, 2003). Like social capital, YCE poses promises as well as perils. The promise of YCE lies in enhanced wellness for participating youth, for their interpersonal connections, and for the community at large. The perils lie in accentuating the virtues of participation at the expense of changing structural inequalities and power differentials that ultimately undermine the goods associated with democratic participation (Nelson & Prilleltensky, 2004). These threats may prove unfounded if YCE addresses inequality, injustice, and power differentials. However, if YCE is primarily about supporting the structures that uphold the status quo, we should ...

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