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ERIC Number: EJ793192
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Against the Current: Developing the Civic Agency of Students
Boyte, Harry C.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v40 n3 p8-15 May-Jun 2008
Leaders in higher education's civic-engagement efforts recently have argued that those efforts need reinvigoration. John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, argues that educators' next task is to "empower students and other citizens in the work of democracy." A focus on civic agency has far-ranging implications. Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Mishe have defined such agency as the ability to negotiate and transform a world that is understood to be fluid and open. However, they observe, this ability "has been overshadowed by an emphasis upon clear and explicit rules of conduct, concepts that permit relatively little scope for the exercise of situationally based judgment." The concept of civic agency highlights the broader set of capacities and skills required to take confident, skillful, imaginative, collective action in fluid and open environments where there is no script. Teachers or organizers who inspire, agitate, energize, and constructively challenge students generally become learners in the process. In this article, the author discusses the challenges of teaching civic agency in higher education. He also discusses Public Achievement (PA), a program for developing civic capacities for action among students. He suggests that in order to develop civic agency, students need not only new skills, but a much more robust definition of democracy, citizenship, and politics. (Contains 12 resources.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A