Civic Talk

Peers, Politics, and the Future of Democracy

Casey A. Klofstad
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0273-8
Publication: Jan 12

HC: $66.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0272-1
Publication: Dec 10

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0274-5
Publication: Dec 10

200 pages
6 x 9
26 tables, 30 figs.

Exploring how the simple act of talking about politics and current events with friends, colleagues, and relatives causes us to become more civically active


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 relatives—“civic talk”—has the ability to turn thought into action—from 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 behavior 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.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Civic Talk and Civic Participation
3. Does Civic Talk Cause Civic Participation?
4. Why Does Civic Talk Cause Civic Participation?
5. Do You Matter?
6. Do Your Peers Matter?
7. The Significant and Lasting Effect of Civic Talk
8. Peers, Politics, and the Future of Democracy
APPENDIX A: The Collegiate Social Network Interaction Project (C-SNIP)
APPENDIX B: C-SNIP Panel Survey Questions and Variables
APPENDIX C: Matching Data Pre-processing

About the Author(s)

Casey A. Klofstad is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami.


In the Series

  • The Social Logic of Politics edited by Scott D. McClurg (formerly edited by Alan S. Zuckerman)

    The Social Logic of Politics Series, edited by Scott D. McClurg (formerly edited by Alan S. Zuckerman), directs attention to several related clusters of research in the social sciences. At the core is a theoretical principle: individuals make political decisions, like other choices, by taking into account cues from other persons. Studies move from individuals to groups to large scale collectivities. Usually examining micro-politics-voting and other forms of political participation; the place of politics in households, the family, the friendship unit, and the neighborhood- this research also studies how broader political and social contexts influence and are influenced by these micro-processes. It includes as well "small group behavior" in political institutions, such as exchanges of cues in legislatures and patron-client relations in bureaucratic agencies and political parties. Books in The Social Logic of Politics Series will apply research techniques that run the gamut of contemporary political science, sociology, communications, and geography.