Community, Social Participation and Education
Community, social participation and education
The starting point for the experiment presented in this paper was the conception that active communal and social life creates an increased individual demand for participation in public life. Consequently, active social participation could renew the democratic functions of society. At the beginning of the research it was assumed that under the present social circumstances of new capitalism the reformation of democracy, its ‘re-democratisation’ is essential. We observed the proportion of those communities and people in the society who are capable to formulate and enforce their interests, and we also considered the possibilities how this proportion could be increased. Social participation was measured with a persistent index in which the indicators of social life, public attitude and public praxis were aggregated.
The level of social participation was described in our national representative survey (Hungary, 2009, N= 1051) with a 5-category hierarchical index that we derive from cluster analysis.
Only 3, 6% obtained the top-level index and 17, 4% got the second highest results. The members of these two groups had a wide range of social relationships, an intensive communal praxis and demand for social participation; moreover, their public attitude, their public participation and their public-political praxis were significant as well. According to the statistics of linear regression, the chance for getting into the two upper groups depended on participants’ childhood social praxis and their level of education. In other words, the most active participants of social and public life already started to form social connections in their childhood. Later, in their adulthood, the high level of education enabled them to comprehend the necessary information about public issues and initiates their active social participation.
Prof. Dr. Agnes UTASI
University of Szeged