Q1-2: Is the problem lack of political engagement or lack of civic engagement? What’s the difference?


In my previous post, I looked at the difference between political engagement and civic engagement in order to answer the following question

Question 1: Is the problem lack of political engagement or lack of civic engagement? What’s the difference?

Although there is a signal of a lack of political engagement, mainly proved by our low voting rate (I cannot explain the status only by it, though), I had no idea about the current level of civic engagement and the civic engagement stage, which is also a process of political engagement. Therefore, I read the literature Mechanisms of formation of political interest among ‘new voters’(Hata, 2016)

Short summary
Interest in politics is often described in terms of the concept of political socialisation. In the early socialisation phase, young people (the range of age is ambiguous) get interested in politics while adaping to the concept of political and social systems. Then after they get older, people(adults) the trigger of the interest in politics is generally individual merits (e.g. parents who seek to benefit themselves by voting for politicians who try to improve the child-rearing environment). This paper shows that interest in politics among adults definitely increase when they thinks something political are likely to benefit them.

Thoughts after reading
The level of civic engagement/involvement needs to be re-examined(I could not find the clue from this article), but I found that adults and young people have different backgrounds of interest in politics. Today, I had a chat with my Japanese friends and talked about our mental distance between politics and us. All of us have been struggling with thinking politics as our important and daily topic/event. Assuming that this is the general perception, the problem in our country nowadays may be that we don’t feel like politics strongly connects with us.


Hata (2016) ” Mechanisms of formation of political interest among ‘new voters‘ “, Election research, 32(2), pp. 45-55. Available at: https://doi.org/10.14854/jaes.32.2_45 (In Japanese)


One Reply to “Q1-2: Is the problem lack of political engagement or lack of civic engagement? What’s the difference?”

  1. Hi May! Great to see that you are developing your ideas for the project and answering the questions from your supervisor. I find these discussions on civic & political participation quite thought provoking, and as you said, it’s important to know how they are practised in the Japanese context.

    I have come across these two papers when I was writing my research, which might interest you:
    – Rios, A., & Mccartney, M. (2007). Making the World Real: Using a Civic Engagement Course to Bring Home Our Global Connections. https://doi.org/10.1080/15512160500484143
    – Chen, S. (2020). The official discourse of social justice in citizenship education: A comparison between Japan and China: https://Doi.Org/10.1177/1746197920971811, 16(3), 197–210. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746197920971811 (this seems to focus more on the notion of ‘social justice’, but it might be related to civic ideas in some ways)

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