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Hays, R. A. (2007). Community activists’ perceptions of citizenship roles in an urban community: A case study of attitudes that affect community engagement. Journal of Urban Affairs, 29(4), 401-424



Allen Hays (Hays, 2007) looks at the connections and barriers between community activism (community-based organizations) and political participation in a small urban community to determine how they are viewed by participants. He is particularly interested in the contrast in opinions of those participants that view each other’s activities as separate.  There is no common ground or opportunity for either to join the other’s activism or political participation.  Hays employs a qualitative case study of community and political activists’ attitudes in a small urban community in northern Iowa.  The study is based on Robert Putnam’s theoretical model that suggests a strong connection between local civic and political engagement and Nina Eliasoph’s model that suggests there are barriers between local civic and political participation.  Hays (2007) tested these models through a series of in depth interviews with the above cross-section of a community’s population actively involved in civic and political activities.  He explores perceived boundaries between the two areas to better understand those boundaries might be overcome in similar cities.

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