Curriculum Requirements and Subsequent Civic Engagement: Is there a difference between ‘forced’ and ‘free’ community service

Ailsa Henderson, Steven D. Brown, S. Mark Pancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite figures showing the growth of mandatory community service programmes there is mixed empirical evidence of their effectiveness. This paper addresses the relationship of mandated community service to one of its purported aims: subsequent volunteerism. It compares current volunteerism among four university student cohorts: those doing no service in secondary school, those volunteering with no requirement, those volunteering both before and after the introduction of a requirement, and those introduced to service through a requirement. The analysis indicates that (1) students who were introduced to service through a mandated programme exhibit current levels of engagement no greater than non-volunteers; (2) this relationship stems largely from the different service experiences of our four cohorts and relates to the fact that service satisfaction and duration, as well as background variables account for current levels of civic engagement. The findings suggest that mandatory service programmes might well be failing the very population they seek to target, particularly in weaker, less structured programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1322
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Volume70
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • civic education
  • civic engagement
  • youth development
  • mandated community service

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