Unequal Background on Citizenship Participation: The Role of Civic Knowledge and Political Interest.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Daniel MIRANDA, P. Catholic University of Chile, Chile
Evidence has shown consistently that the resources are related to participation, in example, people with more education, income and/or political/civic knowledge have more chances to participate (Schlozman, Verba & Brady, 2012). Another dimension that has evidence about the relation with participation is political interest, considered as an indicator of political engagement. Nevertheless, these antecedents’ shows two research gaps: it is mainly based on the formal ways of participation typically labeled as political participation and the social background, political/civic knowledge and attitudes are treated separately.

The aim of this paper is to assess the influence of the socioeconomic background, civic knowledge and political interest on students citizenship participation using different participation ways that are defined here under the umbrella of citizenship: It involves a civil dimension, which refers to the relationships with the community and informal or civil associations; as well as a civic dimension, that refers to the relationships with formal institutions and the political system, such as voting and membership to political parties.

The combination of these three approaches would help bridging the referred research gap. In that sense the main questions proposed in order to guide the research are: to what extent socioeconomic background impact on the different types of participation? to what extent civic knowledge impact on the different types of participation? The civic knowledge play a role of mediator in the relation between socioeconomic backgrounds and participation? And finally, to what extent the political interest moderate that mediation process?

Using a Chilean representative sample students that participated in the International Civic and Citizenship Study, preliminary results shows a mediated moderation process. Those with more political interest shows a stronger relation between socioeconomic background and civic knowledge and a stronger relation between civic knowledge and participation. Nevertheless this process varies between types of participation.