A conceptual model of intergroup contact, social capital, and youth civic engagement for diverse democracy

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Civic engagement is a critical component of diverse democracy, and youth have the capacity for meaningful engagement to create a more equitable society for all. Preparing youth for active participation in a diverse democracy entails supporting the development of diverse social relationships with a particular focus on providing experiences that stimulate positive intergroup contact between individuals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. This paper outlines a conceptual model from which to understand the complex relationships between intergroup contact, social capital, and civic engagement. Of particular interest is the way in which intergroup contact can bring about changes in attitudes and behaviors relevant to youth civic engagement through the mediating factors of cultural awareness, prejudice reduction, awareness of systemic inequality, and social capital. In considering how these factors support one another and interact to encourage a trajectory of civic growth for diverse democracy, one can recognize and demonstrate a higher relational value of youth civic engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-288
Number of pages18
JournalLocal Development and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

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