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Making VolunteersCivic Life after Welfare's End$
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Nina Eliasoph

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147093

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147093.001.0001

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Democracy Minus Disagreement, Civic Skills Minus Politics, Blank “Reflections”

Democracy Minus Disagreement, Civic Skills Minus Politics, Blank “Reflections”

(p.87) Chapter 5 Democracy Minus Disagreement, Civic Skills Minus Politics, Blank “Reflections”
Making Volunteers

Nina Eliasoph

Princeton University Press

This chapter opens with a passionate dream of many organizers: to encourage youth volunteers to care about politics and “the big picture.” Doing so would require discussion and possibly lead to conflict, which most organizers consider depressing and difficult, not inspiring and easy. Yet there is hardly enough time for reflective discussions anyway. As such, the youth programs all merely conduct projects with which no humane person can disagree—gathering mittens and cans of tuna for the poor, but not asking why there is hunger, for example—thus severing any connection between civic volunteering and political engagement, and tending to breed, paradoxically, hopelessness about finding any solutions beyond one mitten at a time.

Keywords:   youth volunteers, politics, democracy, civic skills, civic volunteering, political engagement, hopelessness

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