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April 17, 2008

branding citizenship

This morning, I guest-taught a class of college students who are in Washington, DC for the semester. Without having planned it in advance, I asked them what they thought about the following words or phrases that might be used to promote civic participation:

♦ citizenship
♦ responsible citizenship
♦ service
♦ voluntary service
♦ public service
♦ networking for change
♦ community organizing
♦ activism
♦ political activism
♦ social entrepreneurship
♦ civic engagement

We can't generalize from this group, and they weren't in agreement. There was a lot of positive feeling about "social entrepreneurship." They were concerned that "networking for change" was too easy--it meant adding a link on FaceBook but not doing anything. Some defended "civic engagement" even though I suspect it sounds bland. (It's in the title of my own organization.) "Service" sounded conservative to this relatively liberal group, and they thought "activism" sounded too liberal to attract their peers.

April 17, 2008 4:43 PM | category: none


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