Sustained versus eroding community engagement

Louis, Winnifred, Terry, Deborah and Fielding, Kelly (2005). Sustained versus eroding community engagement. In: Dave Gardiner and Katie Scott, Proceedings of International Conference on Engaging Communities. International Conference on Engaging Communities, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (1-21). 14-17 August 2005.

Author Louis, Winnifred
Terry, Deborah
Fielding, Kelly
Title of paper Sustained versus eroding community engagement
Conference name International Conference on Engaging Communities
Conference location Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 14-17 August 2005
Proceedings title Proceedings of International Conference on Engaging Communities
Place of Publication Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Publisher Queensland Department of Main Roads
Publication Year 2005
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 1920719032
Editor Dave Gardiner
Katie Scott
Start page 1
End page 21
Total pages 21
Language eng
Abstract/Summary The potential benefits of sustained community engagement in the political process are diverse: conflicts addressed and issues publicly debated in the short term, and social capital fostered and civic democracy strengthened for the future. One critical issue for sustainable community engagement is whether individuals who become engaged with an issue will maintain commitment over time. Turnover and attrition from community projects and groups reduces efficiency and prevents the development of social capital from long-term relationships. This paper reviews existing theories of sustained commitment from the social sciences and argues that the social psychology of group processes and identity can make a key contribution to the literature. Supporting evidence is drawn from two studies of passive and active war supporters and opponents conducted during and after the invasion of Iraq. High engagement with the political process among war opponents during the war steeply declined subsequently, providing a natural laboratory to test existing theories and models of sustainable community engagement. While political and sociological models of community participation received support in both studies, psychological identification with the process emerged as a key variable in each case. Moreover, a longitudinal study of activists showed, consistent with social psychological models, that engaging in collective action strengthened psychological identification over time, which reduced the rate of drop-outs. Normative conflicts emerged as key causes of burn-outs in the long term. The theoretical and social implications of the results are discussed.
Keyword Social identity
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 01 Mar 2011, 16:50:02 EST by Dr Kelly Fielding on behalf of ISSR - Research Groups