Does talking about civic issues encourage civic participation? In his innovative book, Civic Talk, Casey Klofstad shows that our discussions about politics and current events with our friends, colleagues, and relativeso"civic talk"ohas the ability to turn thought into actionofrom voting to volunteering in civic organizations. Klofstad's path breaking research is the first to find evidence of a causal relationship between the casual chatting and civic participation. He employs survey information and focus groups consisting of randomly assigned college freshman roommates to show this behaviour in action. Klofstad also illustrates how civic talk varies under different circumstances and how the effects can last years into the future. Based on these findings, Klofstad contends that social context plays a central role in maintaining the strength of democracy. This conclusion cuts against the grain of previous research, which primarily focuses on individual-level determinants of civic participation, and negates social-level explanations.
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