Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Paper presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Conference, Dublin, 31st. May - 1st. April, 2015.


Putnam (2000) argues that, in recent years, there has been a steady decline of social capital and civic engagement in western societies. However, arguments claiming a 'crisis' of civic engagement have also been met with fierce academic disagreement, leading to a strongly contested debate as to whether civic engagement is in decline or simply evolving. Using a mixed methods approach, this research sought to explore youth civic engagement among the students of the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown aged 18 to 25. Preliminary quantitative results provide evidence of both disengagement with traditional routes and a re-routing of engagement towards more lifestyle orientated, personal engagement. Preliminary qualitative results provide further insight into the possible barriers motivating young people to find alternative routes of civic expression. In light of these results and the national strategic priority of higher education in the promotion of civic engagement, this paper makes some recommendations for consideration in the development of the new Technological University for Dublin.