Document Type

Honors Project


This study explores volunteerism and activism in tandem under the umbrella of civic engagement and questions the importance of intergenerational transmission of forms of capital and cultural models of agency in how and why college students choose to be civically engaged. This study utilized a mixed-methods design with a survey to determine base rates of engagement and semi-structured interviews to identify differences in engagement based on class culture and capital. Overall, there were not differences in rate of participation by social class, but students volunteered more regularly than they engaged in activism. The interviews illustrated how students theoretically distinguish activism from volunteerism, how students navigate conflicting motivations to engage such as connection to a community and personal fulfillment, and how social capital and structural barriers such as transportation facilitate and inhibit activism and volunteerism differently, especially in the context of institutions such as liberal arts colleges.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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