Renewing Democracy in Young America
Daniel Hart and James Youniss
Reviews and Awards
"Hart and Youniss synthesize a broad interdisciplinary literature, arguing that expanding opportunities for youth participation can renew our democracy. Their proposals are creative, practical, and built on evidence: Renew civic life through environmental engagement and lower the voting age to increase participation. Looking for a vision of hope for our fraying political life? Read this book!" --Constance A. Flanagan, Vaughan Bascom Professor of Women, Family, and Community and Associate Dean, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Two of today's great scholars of youth civic engagement have assembled a powerful argument that the next generation can restore our republic-but only if we change how we envision youth development and ensure that all young people have civic opportunities. This exemplary work is essential reading for experts, leaders in government and the nonprofit sector, and active citizens." --Peter Levine, Associate Dean, Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
"Hart and Youniss note the roots and signs of youth disengagement, such as disenchantment with democracy and low voter turnout. They challenge much of the existing literature regarding how best to excite students about civic duty. The authors offer four arguments to redirect current thinking. First, they suggest young people 'can be part of the solution to the problems of contemporary American democracy.' Rather than view their ambivalence as a symptom of rancor and tribalism, they can become stewards of place. Civic participation can be learned at the local level where there are tangible results of their efforts. Second, 'civic development and civic education will not be improved by more of what we are already doing.' Something must be done to 'cultivate' positive behavior. Third, '[i]mproving civic development will require new opportunities for youth participation in the community and in the electorate.'
"Civic education, alone, is not the panacea; students need the chance to use their skills and see what they can do to contribute to the public good. The authors conclude that something has to be done now, such as promoting civics in schools and lowering the voting age. Their work should be taken seriously for all who care about the future of the country...Highly recommended." --CHOICE
"A remarkable study, the release of Renewing Democracy in Young America is underscored by the present young people's movement for gun safety and control legislation in the face of the NRA's seemingly unassailable domination of state legislatures, the federal congress, and even the current presidency of Donald J. Trump. A compelling thoughtful and thought-provoking read, Renewing Democracy in Young America is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental studies reading lists." --Midwest Book Review