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Civic orientation in cultures of privilege: What role do schools play?

Publication Authors: 
Parissa Jahromi Ballard, Laura Caccavale, & Christy M. Buchanan
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
Youth & Society, 47(1), 70-94. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X14538464

The context of privilege provides unique opportunities and challenges for youth civic development. A mixed-method approach was used to examine links between school-based community service, school climate, and civic orientation among students in cultures of privilege. Surveys completed by students (N = 376) at two private high schools—one with an extracurricular community service requirement and one without—suggest that students in the school without the service requirement report similar, and in some cases more positive, civic attitudes than students from the school with the requirement. Focus-group data indicated that the service requirement was viewed positively, but illuminated other school experiences that might promote community orientation in cultures of privilege, such as an emphasis on global awareness and making civic priorities fundamental to school identity.